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A James Joyce Miscellany 



A James Joyce Miscellany 


EDITED BY Maivin Magalaner 

^ . ■* 

Southern Illinois University Press 



Designed by Andor Braun 

To the memory of 



TO PREPAREa book of this kind, an editor needs the 
cooperation of many people. This help has been generously 
offered and humbly accepted during the past two years. The 
editor wishes first to acknowledge the good will of scores of 
writers whose essays on Joyce could not be included in this 
collection for reasons of length or editorial balance. An equal 
debt of gratitude is owed to the late Miss Harriet Weaver 
and the administrators of the Joyce Estate for permitting 
the publication of Joyce's story, ''Christmas Eve/' and to 
them and The Society of Authors for the right to use manu- 
script drafts of "Gas from a Burner." The Miscellany is 
further indebted to the Cornell University Library, which 
has physical possession of these documents, for permission 
to publish them here. 

The editor acknowledges gratefully the granting of per- 
mission by The University of Chicago Press and Modern 
Philology to reprint James R. Thrane's ''Joyce's Sermon on 
Hell: Its Source and Its Backgrounds"; by the Kenyon Re- 
view to use WilKam Empson's "The Theme of Ulysses"; 
and by The University of Toronto Quarterly to republish 
Trevor Lennam's "The Happy Hunting Ground." 

For their assistance, the editor is especially grateful to 
Herbert Gaboon, Leon Edel, Charles E. Feinberg, and the 
efficient editorial staff of Southern Illinois University Press. 
The James Joyce Society has been willing to lend its distin- 
guished name as sponsor of this volume. 

Finally, I wish to note the support of my wife, who has 
helped, and the distracting activities of my son, who has 
delayed the publication of this book. 

M. M. 


Introduction xi 


1 Christmas Eve 3 


2 The Broadsides of James Joyce 8 


3 Ibsen, Joyce, and the Living-Dead 19 


4 Joyce's Sermon on Hell 33 


5 The Characterization of Molly Bloom 79 


6 The Theme of Ulysses i2y 


7 The Yankee Interviewer in Ulysses 155 


8 The Happy Hunting Ground 1^8 


9 Blake in Nighttown ly^ 


10 Joyce and Blake 188 




11 In the Wake of the Fianna 226 


12 Circhng the Square: A Study of Structure 239 


13 Notes for the Staging of Finnegans Wake 2y8 



between pages i^S-^j 
Manuscript Pages of a Joyce Broadside 

Photograph of Joyce, ca. 1930 



THE impulse to explicate Joyce seems on the wane. Not 
that critics have run out of obscure passages to puzzle over. 
Quite the contrary, Finnegans Wake alone offers sufficient 
unassimilated chunks to feed a squad of researchers. But 
forty years after the publication of Ulysses, the booming 
Joyce industry, as Vivian Mercier calls it in a recent article, 
has apparently decided to consolidate its position, take in- 
ventory of the material it has produced since 1922, and 
branch out into relatively untraveled territory. Perhaps this 
turning point in Joyce studies accounts for the mellow final- 
ity of two current publications: the newly reissued critical 
study by Harry Levin, now augmented by a chapter on 
"Revisiting Joyce"; and William York TindalFs Reader s 
Guide to James Joyce. 

Explication in bits and pieces, without enough evaluative 
consideration of the meaning of the explication in the entire 
context of Joyce's work, is scored by S. L. Goldberg in The 
Classical Temper: A Study of James Joyce's 'Ulysses.' This 
excellent book itself supplies the best argument against such 
fragmented exegesis by presenting an extended, beautifully 
reasoned thesis on the meaning of Joyce's novel. Though the 
approach is philosophical, the demonstration of the critic's 
points is concrete, precise, and eminently judicious. Too in- 
volved for presentation here, Goldberg's study of Bloom and 



Stephen against a backdrop of opposites — the classical and 
the nonclassical temper, static and kinetic approaches to life, 
and so forth — illuminates the meaning and the structure 
of Ulysses with a completeness not hitherto attained. The 
author has probably taken meaningful explication as far as 
it can go. 

"How did Joyce say it, and why?" These questions now 
hold the center of the stage. The former accounts for the 
large number of books that have appeared since 1958 deal- 
ing with technical details of Joyce's method — his style, his 
habits of composition, his use of allusions, the chronology 
of his novels, the drafts of his stories, the proofsheets of his 
books, and the various published versions of selected sections 
of Finnegans Wake. For answers to the latter question, the 
biographical studies recently published alter remarkably not 
only what has been thought of the author but also the back- 
ground of the books he wrote. 

It is unlikely that many writers in English have had their 
literary remains exhumed and submitted to post-mortem 
examination to the degree that Joyce's have been during the 
past few years. Almost no piece of nonepistolary prose that 
Joyce wrote has escaped publication. From scraps of ele- 
mentary school compositions on his favorite hero to manu- 
script versions of discarded fiction to jottings culled from 
the works of Walter Pater — no item in the Master's hand 
has proved too trivial for libraries to purchase and students 
to try to fit into a larger, more meaningful frame. Much 
might better have been left unearthed, for all the help it 
has been to significant scholarship. At the same time, how- 
ever, much of the most valuable criticism has come as a 
result of careful study of the scraps Joyce left behind him. 
If Joyce is worth serious consideration as man and artist, 
it is certainly not because of the startling originality of what 
he had to say. "What oft was thought but ne'er so well 
expressed" better describes his contribution to modern litera- 
ture. To examine the workings of the man's creative con- 


sciousness, therefore, for what it may reveal of his method of 
composition is highly profitable. 

As the documents of Joyce's career have become available, 
scholars have begun to take advantage of what the record 
shows. Joseph Prescott's analysis of Joyce's ''stylistic realism" 
in the last Miscellany, a small part of his forthcoming study 
of the proof sheets of Ulysses, is a step in that direction. In 
the same vein, Fred H. Higginson's publication of the six 
parallel drafts of one segment of the Wake in Anna Livia 
Plurabelle: The Making of a Chapter illustrates the advan- 
tage of being able to compare readily and intensively the 
several attempts of a major writer to say the same thing. 
Similarly, the importance of establishing the chronology of 
several versions of the same passage is obvious with a writer 
of Joyce's bizarre habits of creation. Nor is it necessary to 
justify the manifest value of a study of the evolution of 
Finnegans Wake — the chronology, the relationship of part 
to part, and the estabhshment of Joyce's artistic intent — as 
Walton Litz has done in The Art of James Joyce. To provide 
the kind of documents needed for work of this kind, North- 
western University Press has recently published Thomas 
Connolly's edition of an early notebook version of parts of 
the Wake under the title Scribbledehobble: The Ur-Note- 
book for Finnegans Wake. But one need not deal exclusively 
with the complexities of Joyce's last novel. Even comparing 
drafts of his early short stories — the ostensibly simple nar- 
ratives of Dubliners — may yield unexpected results, as Hugh 
Kenner has suggested in Dublin's Joyce and the present writer 
in Time of Apprenticeship: The Fiction of Young James 

A novelist whose method demands constant association of 
the present with periods of the past, as Joyce's does, will tax 
the associative abihties of the bulk of his audience. The 
juxtaposition of ancient Greece and modern Dublin, of 
Earwicker and Mark of Cornwall, of the giants of histor}^'s 
dawn and Parnell, requires a familiarity with historical, musi- 


cal, sociological, literary, religious and other allusion beyond 
the scope of any single reader. To compensate for the in- 
formational lack, the last two years have seen publication of 
several books designed to classify needed background. The 
most ambitious of these is James S. Atherton's The Books 
at the Wake: A Study of Literary Allusions in James Joyces 
''Finnegans Wake.'' Atherton treats intelligently and system- 
atically references to Swift, Lewis Carroll, the Bible, the 
Korany The Book of the Dead, Shakespeare, and others. In 
like vein, Matthew J. C. Hodgart and Mabel P. Worthington, 
in Song in the Works of James Joyce, identify references to 
lyrics in Joyce's books, stressing the melodic storehouse of 
Finnegans Wake. Their introductory chapters on Joyce's 
method are informative, though the chief value of the work 
is its listing of the songs and musical motifs on which the 
author leaned so heavily for his effect and meaning. And 
Frances Motz Boldereff provides an enthusiastic, occasionally 
faulty, but always bizarrely unusual gloss to many difficult 
allusions in Joyce's last novel, under the title of Reading 
Finnegans Wake. Finally, the photographs of Joyce's Ireland 
reproduced by William York Tindall in The Joyce Country 
offer charming yet scholarly pictorial background for study- 
ing Joyce. 

As useful as analysis of his methods of composition has 
proved to be, the great advance in Joyce scholarship since 
the publication of the last Miscellany has unquestionably 
been in biography. At last, Joyce is emerging as the human 
being that Herbert Gorman was unwilling or unable to 
create in his ''supervised" life of the Irish writer. Numerous 
special studies have helped to fill in the serious gaps in the 
information that Joyce was willing to let his audience have 
while he lived. In Our Friend James Joyce, Mary and Padraic 
Colum describe the artist as friend, as husband, as father, 
and as social creature. Most valuable in this volume is the 
hitherto unavailable picture of the relationship between 
Joyce and his daughter Lucia, providing as it does an insight 


into Joyce's familial emotions and his attitudes toward psy- 
chology. In a more specialized study, Kevin Sullivan de- 
scribes Joyce among the Jesuits. This account of Joyce's 
Catholic education, scholarly and precise in most of its 
findings, has the salutary effect of distinguishing between 
Joyce and Stephen Dedalus in their school experiences, and 
thus of placing the author much more firmly under the 
sway of his Jesuit teachers than one would imagine from 
reading Gorman or projecting the impressions of young 
Stephen. In addition to the service rendered in this way, 
Mr. Sullivan presents a clear picture of the kind of educa- 
tion Joyce received — so very necessary for the reader who 
would assess the significance of the novels. 

Other recent books that stress the man as much as the 
work include Herbert Howarth's The Irish Writers: Litera- 
ture and Nationalism iSSo-ig^o^ and Sylvia Beach's Shake- 
speare and Company. In the former, Joyce's view of Parnell 
and the Kitty O'Shea fiasco is examined as one segment of 
a study of contemporary Irish literary attitudes. In the latter, 
the remarkable woman who first undertook to publish Ulys- 
ses in book form tells of Joyce as a customer, a man of 
letters, and then as an ungrateful and suspicious business 
man, sure that his publisher was not playing fair with him. 
In addition to these books, volumes have appeared in several 
countries testifying, if testimony were needed, to the inter- 
national interest Joyce has aroused. In the United States, 
Louis Gillet's essays on Joyce the friend, the father, and the 
literary experimenter have been translated into English as 
Claybook for James Joyce. In France, Jean Paris's colorful, if 
somewhat disjointed, James Joyce par lui-meme has been 
published in the Ecrivans de toujours Series and is now 
scheduled for translation into English and publication in the 
United States. In Germany, Wolfgang Rothe has written 
a book called James Joyce. 

No basic change in the biographical view of James Jovce 
would have been possible, however, without Richard Ell- 


mann's massive and splendid biography of the writer. The 
result of many years of investigation and intelligent reflec- 
tion, it amasses so large a body of hitherto unknown (or at 
least unpublished) information about Joyce's life that the 
mind boggles at assimilating it all at one reading. For the 
first time since Joyce's death, it seems possible now to 
separate biographical fact from fiction, man from the myth. 

That the new assessment is not entirely flattering to its 
subject is not the fault of the biographer, as many reviewers 
have suggested. Stuart Gilbert's earlier edition of Joyce's 
letters hinted at less-than-heroic qualities in the artist: his 
pettiness with respect to recognizing greatness in competitors, 
his carelessness with other people's money, his suspicious 
nature, and his rather bourgeois tastes in all else but litera- 
ture. The documents in the Cornell University Library 
(newly catalogued in a handsome volume by Robert E. 
Scholes) show his relationship to his wife to have been 
tempestuous and strange. Ellmann's book verifies and gives 
pattern to many traits of character merely gossiped about 
earlier, with the result that Joyce is reborn as man first and 
symbol afterward. The reader finds that Stanislaus Joyce 
was indeed his brother's keeper during the lean early years 
in Trieste, working long hours so that Joyce might write, 
telling lies to the landlord at Joyce's instigation that the 
Joyces might not be evicted, squeezing out the extra coins 
that the tired author might enjoy another night of drinking 
with his friends. Joyce's role as husband and father is less 
sympathetically treated here than in the Colums' account, 
and Jung's view of Joyce's mental condition — his role in 
Lucia's psychological deterioriation — is frankly presented. 

Unlike Herbert Gorman, who stressed the Dedalean as- 
pect of Joyce, Richard Ellmann gives much more attention 
to the ways in which his subject approximates Leopold Bloom 
in attitude, daily habits, tastes, and surroundings. The Irish 
writer emerges as a passionate man, often frustrated; a 
person of plebeian appetites satisfied often at the expense 


of his patrons; a person with an unreahstic valuation of his 
own abihties beyond Kterature (he wanted to open a chain 
of foreign language theaters in Dublin, then an outlet for 
Irish tweeds on the continent). Gorman's idealized artificer 
has been downgraded. The artist as a young man has blended 
with the middle-aged human being to produce a portrait at 
once more believable and less romantic than the stereotyped 
view of Stephen-Joyce. It is probable that the second volume 
of letters, now being prepared under the editorship of Ell- 
mann, will continue the process of humanization begun by 
this fine biography. 

The chief objection to Ellmann's book is the charge often 
made that it fails to do justice to Joyce's work — that it falls 
short as a critical evaluation. Those who expect elaborate 
critical treatment of all Joyce's complicated works in a biog- 
raphy that in its present form runs to many more than eight 
hundred pages are perhaps unrealistic in their standards. To 
accomplish merely the literary detective work necessary to 
present the facts and interpretations in this biography in- 
volves a prodigious amount of time, labor, and intelligent 
organization. To expect the work simultaneously to solve 
all critical problems definitively is unfair. Nor does it take 
into account the remarkable contribution to criticism of 
''The Dead," for instance, and of Ulysses, which the author 
makes almost incidentally, as commentary on the biographi- 
cal information. 

Two important roads lie open now for scholarship on 
Joyce. One is obviously a re-evaluation and perhaps a re- 
interpretation of all Joyce's writings in the light of revela- 
tions in Ellmann's biography. The other is a single, unified, 
scholarly edition and annotation of each of Joyce's major 
works under the supervision of a general editor. It is unfor- 
tunate that editions of Joyce's writings are being undertaken 
piecemeal, with no uniformity of conception and no central 
direction. The Critical Writings have already appeared, edited 
by Ellsworth Mason and Richard Ellmann. Annotations of 


the text of Dubliners appear, but without the accompanying 
text. An edition of Chamber Music has been pubhshed by 
one university press. C. G. Anderson is completing on his 
own an edition of A Portrait of the Artist. At Columbia Uni- 
versity, one graduate student is annotating Ulysses; another 
student has recently completed a detailed annotation of the 
''Circe" episode of that novel. Finnegans Wake has its 
Census and its Skeleton Key. Certainly the time has come 
to undertake a systematic edition of the entire canon. 


A James Joyce Miscellany: Third Series is published as a 
direct result of the interest shown in the first two volumes 
of the series. Beginning as a paperback issued by The James 
Joyce Society, the collection is now brought out as a full- 
length book under the imprint of a university press. The 
response of Joyceans and of the scholarly public in general 
to the earlier books appears to support the tentative con- 
clusion of the original sponsors that a need exists for dis- 
semination in permanent form of the best available writing 
on Joyce. 

This collection continues the practice of publishing 
hitherto unavailable portions of Joyce's own work. John 
Slocum and Herbert Cahoon introduce and offer the text 
of an unfinished story called "Christmas Eve"; Robert E. 
Scholes examines the unpublished manuscripts of the au- 
thor's satirical poems. In addition, Joseph Prescott continues 
his elaborate and painstaking analysis of proof changes in 
Ulysses as he demonstrates the evolutionary development of 
Joyce's characterization of Molly Bloom. 

True to its name, this volume contains a representative 
miscellaneous sampling of the kind of scholarship now ap- 
pearing on Joyce. Several contributions deal with the mean- 


ingful relationship between the novehst's sources and his 
own work: James Thrane's extensive treatment of the back- 
grounds of Joyce's sermon on Hell in A Portrait; Trevor 
Lennam's study of Shakespearean analogies in an episode 
of Ulysses; James Baker's view of Ibsen's presence in Dub- 
liners; and papers by Morton Paley and Robert Gleckner 
showing Blake's contribution to the thinking and the art 
of the Irish writer. William Empson's piece on 'The Theme 
of 'Ulysses' " is included here for its own sake, of course, 
but also to show the interesting results obtained when a sen- 
sitive critical mind devotes itself to speculating on the re- 
lationship between biography and fiction. Historical and 
geographical allusions to Ireland and its people in Finne- 
gans Wake are the province of Vivian Mercier, who, with his 
native Irish background, is in an excellent position to trace 
their significance. Ruth von Phul contributes a long and 
provocative article on the structure of the Wake and its 
patterned consistency with other patterns in the author's 
life and works. A note by Richard M. Kain illuminating 
a passage in Ulysses, and David Hayman's study of the 
implications of staging parts of Finnegans Wake complete 
the collection. 

Though A James Joyce Miscellany is technically the organ 
of a "Society," it has attempted since its establishment to 
avoid the narrowness of coterie publications. Neither avant 
garde nor stuffily academic, the present volume includes 
pieces by a distinguished bibliographer and a government 
official, by professors and by a graduate student, by a Texas 
housewife and an English critic of international eminence. 
The book represents no ''school" of Joyce criticism nor is it 
the spokesman of any of the literary and personal cliques 
that claim Joyce as their own. The authors come from Eng- 
land, Canada, Ireland, and the United States. The criteria 
for inclusion are high quality, reader interest, and the ap- 
propriateness of the contribution to the effective balance of 
the whole volume. 


For the first time, the Miscellany departs from the practice 
of using only unpubhshed material in order to make more 
readily and more permanently available some of the best 
writing on Joyce done in the past decade. Of the thirteen 
items in the book, those by Thrane, Lennam and Empson 
have previously appeared in print. 

This volume is dedicated to Harriet Shaw Weaver whose 
generous aid to James Joyce she did not wish to publicize 
during her lifetime. Cooperative in the extreme, the late 
Miss Weaver gave encouragement to the proponents of a 
Joyce Miscellany and in her role as administrator of the 
Joyce Estate helped in a practical way by consenting to the 
publication of many unpublished papers. Yet as recently as 
the preparation of the last Miscellany, she resolutely — 
brusquely, in fact — refused to allow a dedication in her 
honor. She would not even permit her photograph to appear 
in the book or agree to do a memoir of Joyce for inclusion. 
Her quiet death, like her quiet life, went almost unnoticed 
in the press. It is noted here, and in the dedication, with 
deep sadness. 

February 2, 1962 

A James Joyce Miscellany 


Christmas Eve 




I T seems certain that James Joyce originally intended that 
"Christmas Eve" would be included in his book of stories, 
Dubliners, first published in 1914. The only surviving manu- 
script of the story, however, is quite incomplete and there is 
good reason to believe that it never was completed as a con- 
tinuation of the narrative that is printed here for the first 
time. In his definitive biography, James Joyce, Richard Ell- 
mann says that Joyce reshaped the story shortly after its be- 
ginnings and that it appeared in Dubliners as *'Clay." If this 
was the case, and it probably was, the reshaping was thor- 
ough. The prototype of the story changes from the com- 
fortable Mr. Callanan (Joyce's Uncle William Murray — 
who had a daughter, Kathleen) to Maria, the "peace- 
maker," (a distant relative not further identified by Ell- 
mann) and the time shifts from Christmas to Halloween. 
The scenes have parallels but of the narrative only a varia- 

HERBERT CAHOON is OTL the Staff of The Pierpont Morgan Library 
in New York. He collaborated with John J. Slocum on the definitive 
bibliography of James Joyce {published by Yale University Press), 
and he is recognized as a leader in Joyce scholarship, john j. slo- 
cum is former president of The James Joyce Society. The excellent 
collection of books, manuscripts, and other documents that he 
gathered together from all over the world forms the nucleus of 
the Joyce Collection at Yale University. Mr. Slocum now works 
for the United States government. 



tion of the phrase by which Joe describes his manager re- 
mains in ''Clay": ''J^^ said he wasn't so bad when you knew 
how to take him, that he was a decent sort so long as you 
didn't rub him the wrong way." In contrast to his usual 
economical habits, Joyce does not appear to have used any 
remaining passages or phrases from "Christmas Eve" in his 
other works. At the time he was also working on the novel 
published in 1944 as Stephen Hero, a large portion of which 
has not survived. 

It is possible to date ''Christmas Eve" as having been 
written in Trieste and Pola during the eventful months of 
October and November, 1904. Joyce mentions it in letters 
to his brother, Stanislaus, dated 31 October and 19 No- 
vember, 1904, which are now in the Cornell University Li- 
brary. In the second letter Joyce states, "I have written about 
half of 'Xmas Eve'." Ellmann gives 19 January, 1905 as the 
date for the completion of the story; on this day Joyce mailed 
it to Stanislaus in Dublin. Upon the receipt of the story, 
Stanislaus tried but failed to place it in The Irish Homestead 
which had recently pubhshed three of the stories that were 
part of Dubliners. He may also have tried to place it with 
other periodicals. 

At this writing, a complete manuscript of "Christmas 
Eve" is not known to have survived nor has any portion of 
a manuscript of "Clay." This incomplete fair copy of 
"Christmas Eve" (and there may have been more of this 
present narrative) was probably retained by Joyce and passed 
into the keeping of Stanislaus, as did many of Joyce's manu- 
scripts and books, when the James Joyce family moved from 
Trieste to Paris in 1920. 

The autograph manuscript of "Christmas Eve" is written 
on one side of four unnumbered leaves. It is a fair copy and 
contains no corrections nor additions. Leaves one, two, and 
four are in the Yale University Library; leaf three is in the 
Cornell University Library; all are published here with the 
kind permission of these institutions and of the estate of 

Christmas Eve 5 

James Joyce. We are also grateful to Professors Richard Ell- 
mann, George Harris Healey, Marvin Magalaner, and Robert 
Scholes for their generous cooperation and assistance. 


Mr Callanan felt homely. There was a good fire burning 
in the grate and he knew that it was cold outside. He had 
been about town all day shopping with Mrs Callanan and 
he had met many friends. These friends had been very 
friendly, exchanging the compliments of the season, joking 
with Mrs Callanan about her number of parcels, and pinch- 
ing Katsey's cheek. Some said that Katsey was like her 
mother but others said she was like her father — only better- 
looking: she was a rather pretty child. The Callanans — that 
is, the father and mother and Katsey and an awkward brother 
named Charlie — had then gone into a cake-shop and taken 
four cups of coffee. After that the turkey had been bought 
and safely tucked under Mr Callanan's arm. As they were 
making for their crowded tram Mr Callanan's 'boss' passed 
and saluted. The salute was generously returned. 

— That's the 'boss'. He saluted — did you see? — 

— That man? — 

— Ah, he's not a bad sort after all if you know how to 
take him. But you mustn't rub him the wrong way. — 

There was wood in the fire. Every Christmas Mr Callanan 
got a present of a small load of wooden blocks from a friend 
of his in a timber-yard near Ringsend. Christmas would not 
have been Christmas without a wood-fire. Two of these 
blocks were laid crosswise on the top of the fire and were 
beginning to glow. The brave light of the fire lit up a small, 
well-kept room with bees-waxed borders arranged cleanly 
round a bright square carpet. The table in the middle of the 
room had a shaded lamp upon it. The shade set obliquely 
sprayed the light of the lamp upon one of the walls, reveal- 
ing a gilt-framed picture of a curly-headed child in a night- 


dress playing with a collie. The picture was called ''Can't you 

Mr Callanan felt homely but he had himself a more de- 
scriptive phrase for his condition: he felt mellow. He was a 
blunt figure as he sat in his arm-chair; short thick legs resting 
together like block pipes, short thick arms hardly crossing 
over his chest, and a heavy red face nestling upon all. His 
scanty hair was deciding for grey and he looked a man who 
had come near his comfortable winter as he blinked his blue 
eyes thoughtfully at the burning blocks. His mind was va- 
cant. He had calculated all his expenses and discovered that 
all had been done well within the margin. This discovery had 
resulted in a mood of general charity and in particular desire 
for some fellow-spirit to share his happiness, some of his 
old cronies, one of the right sort. 

Someone might drop in: Hooper perhaps. Hooper and he 
were friends from long ago and both had been many years 
in the same profession. Hooper was a clerk in a solicitor's 
office in Eustace St and Mr Callanan was a clerk in a 
solicitor's office close by on Wellington Quay. They used 
often meet at Swan's public-house where each went every 
day at lunch-time to get a fourpenny snack and a pint and 
when they met they compared notes astutely for they were 
legal rivals. But still they were friends and could forget the 
profession for one night. Mr Callanan felt he would like 
to hear Hooper's gruff voice call in at the door "Hello Tom! 
How's the body?" 

The kettle was put squatting on the fire to boil for punch 
and soon began to puff. Mr Callanan stood up to fill his pipe 
and while filling it he gave a few glances at Katsey who was 
diligently stoning some raisins on a plate. Many people 
thought she would turn out a nun but there could be no 
harm in having her taught the typewriter; time enough after 
the holidays. Mr Callanan began to toss the water from 
tumbler to tumbler in a manner that suggested technical 
difficulties and just at that moment Mrs Callanan came in 
from the hall. 

Christmas Eve 7 

— Tom! here's Mr Hooper! — 

— Bring him in! Bring him in! I wouldn't doubt you, 
Paddy, when there's punch going — 

— I'm sure I'm in the way . . . busy night with you, Mrs 
Callanan . . . — 

— Not at all, Mr Hooper. You're as welcome as the flowers 
in May. How is Mrs Hooper? 

— Ah! we can't complain. Just a touch of the old trouble, 
you know . . . indigestion — 

— Nasty thing it is! She is quite strong otherwise? — 

— O, yes, tip-top — 

— Well, sit down, my hearty and make yourself at home — 

— I'll try to, Tom — 

The Broadsides of James Joyce 


I N 1904 when James Joyce went into voluntary exile from 
Ireland he signalled his departure with the broadside verses 
called The Holy Office^ and in 1912 when he returned to 
that exile after a sojourn in Dublin, embittered by the refusal 
of the Dublin publishing firm Maunsel and Co. to publish 
DublinerSf and by the destruction of the printed sheets of 
the book by the printer, John Falconer, he again expressed 
his feelings with a broadside, this one called Gas from a 
Burner. Joyce's bibliographers have sought exact information 
on the printing and distribution of these two works in vain, 
but materials have now come to light, in the collection of 
James Joyce's papers purchased by Cornell University from 
the widow of Stanislaus Joyce, which provide us for the first 
time with the missing details. The Holy OfRce was printed 
for Joyce by the firm of L. Smolars in Trieste ^ (not in Pola 
as Stanislaus Joyce recollected) on 23 May 1905. One hun- 
dred copies were printed.^ James Joyce mailed fifty copies 
early in June to his brother Stanislaus for distribution to 
interested parties in Dublin. The remaining fifty he retained 
to distribute himself.^ 

ROBERT SCHOLES, Assistdut ProfcssoT of English at the University 
of Virginia, will teach the first graduate course in Irish literature 
there in 1^62-6^. He has published The Cornell Joyce Collec- 
tion: A Catalogue and other writings on Joyce, and has received 
an ACLS grant for a textual study of Dubliners. 


The Broadsides of James Joyce 9 

The papers now at Cornell provide us with even more in- 
formation about Joyce's second broadside, or pasquinade as 
he called it, than about his first. The first draft of Gas from 
a Burner^ the second draft, and the final smooth copy with 
printer's notations are all available now. The printer's nota- 
tions indicate that one hundred copies were to be made, and 
that the pasquinade was to be printed ''nel formato carta 
lettera." ^ Joyce's address in Trieste is stamped at the end of 
the manuscript, near these notations. The notations indicate 
that Stanislaus Joyce was correct in stating that the printing 
was done in Trieste rather than the Netherlands as has some- 
times been assumed. The distribution of this broadside was 
intended by James Joyce to be similar to that of The Holy 
Office. He sent forty copies to his brother Charles in Dublin 
for distribution there and retained the balance to distribute 
himself. Charles, however, seems to have been less effective 
in distributing broadsides than his brother Stanislaus had 
been seven years earlier. He wrote to James Joyce on 15 
October 1912 to the effect that he could not afford stamps 
and that their father had read one of the copies and protested 
vigorously against their distribution. Two months later 
Charles, who was apparently short of writing paper, sent a 
letter to Stanislaus written on the back of a printed copy of 
Gas from a Burner. It seems unlikely that many of those 
forty copies reached their destinations.^ 

The two earlier drafts of this broadside which are now 
available for examination throw light on an aspect of the 
work which is not bibliographical but critical in nature. 
The speaker of this mock dramatic monologue has usually 
been identified as George Roberts of Maunsel and Co.^ But 
the preponderance of the evidence of these manuscripts 
indicates that Joyce had in mind not Roberts the publisher 
but John Falconer, the Dublin printer who, upon learning 
that Joyce hoped to buy the sheets from him and publish 
the work himself, burned (or, more probably, guillotined) 
the sheets of Dubliners which he had printed. It was this 


final insult and blow to Joyce's hopes which must have 
weighed most heavily on his mind as he sat in the railroad 
station at Flushing in the Netherlands and began to com- 
pose his pasquinade. It was Falconer and the ''malicious 
burning of the ist edition of Dubliners'' rather than Roberts 
to whom Joyce referred in a note on a printed copy of the 
broadsideJ The manuscripts at Cornell bear out the sup- 
position that Falconer is indeed the speaker of the poem, for 
the first draft is entitled 'Talconer addresses the Vigilance 
Committee" and the second draft ''Falconer on 'Dubliners'." 
A reading of the poem shows that most of the references, 
such as "I printed," "my press," "the porch of my printing 
institute," "My Irish foreman from Bannockburn," and "Fll 
burn that book" are more appropriate in the mouth of the 
printer than in that of the publisher. Moreover, the second 
draft, the title of which still preserves Falconer's name, is 
virtually the finished poem in its ultimate form, though 
it is a foul copy with many corrections. 

Why then was Falconer's name dropped from the title of 
the printed version? It may have been partly prudence. Joyce 
eliminated the names of Starkey (Seumas O'SulHvan), Rus- 
sell (ae), and Magee (John Eglinton) from his first draft 
and excluded a reference to the "London Emetic Society" 
from the second. Also, it is possible that he was not sure 
whether Falconer had actually printed all the various writers 
of the Irish Literary Movement whom Maunsel published 
and who are mentioned in the broadside. And it may be that 
the reference in line five to Joyce's sending his book to the 
"I" of the poem — which is more strictly appropriate to 
Roberts than to Falconer — bothered Joyce. He may even 
have decided to allow the speaker to become a sort of 
composite figure of both printer and publisher; hence, neces- 
sarily nameless. But it seems certain that Falconer and not 
Roberts was uppermost in his mind when he composed his 
pasquinade. After all, it was Falconer who "burned" the 
printed copies of Dubliners, and the broadside is called Gas 
from a Burner. 

The Broadsides of James Joyce ii 

The first draft of Gas from a Burner is in pencil on a 
printed form of royalty agreement. The manuscript has been 
worked over considerably. In the text printed here Joyce's 
deletions have been placed v^ithin brackets, his insertions 
within slant-lines. The most noticeable difference between 
the first draft and all later versions is that the twenty-eight 
lines which open the broadside are missing in this version. 
It is impossible to ascertain now whether these lines were 
written on another sheet of paper which has since been lost 
or if the poem in its first version began with the line, ''To 
show you for strictures I don't give a button." The title of 
the first draft appears in the right-hand margin of the manu- 
script. The last four lines are carried over to the sheet used 
for the second draft. 


To show you for stiictmes I dont care a button 

J piinted the verses of Mountainy Mutton 

And a play he wrote (youVe lead it Tm sure) 

Where they talk oi bastard, hugger & whore 

And a drama about the apostle Paul 

And some woman's legs that I cant recall. 

[I printed poets sad, silly and solemn 

And I printed Patrick What-Do-You-Colm] 

That was written hy Moore — a country gent 

Who lives on his property's ten per cent 

And I printed the great John Milicent Synge 

Who soars above us on angeVs wing 

In the famous shift that he pinched as swag 

From MaunseVs managers travelling bag. 

I printed mystical books in dozens 

[By Starkey, Russell, Magee and Cou] 

I printed the table-books of Cousins 

Though [as] (I ask your pardon) as for their verse 

'Twould give you a heartburn on your arse 

Little thin booklets published at one and three 

By the London Emetic Society. 

/I printed folklore from North & South 


By Gregory oi the Golden Mouth 

I printed poets, sad, silly & solemn 

I printed Patrick-What-Do-You-Call-Him/ 

But I draw the line at that bloody iellow 

That was over here in Austrian Yellow, 

/Spouting Italian by the hour 

To O'Leary Curtis and John Wyse Power/ 

Writing oi Dublin, [dear and] dirty & dear 

In a manner no decent man could bear 

Shite and onions! Do you think Td print 

The name oi the Wellington Monument 

Sydney Parade and the Sandymount tram 

Downes's cake shop and Williams' jam 

I'm damned ii I do! Tm damned to blazes! 

Talk about Irish names oi Places! 

It's a wonder to me [to complete the whole] 

/upon my Soul/ 
He omitted to mention Curly s Hole. 
No, sir, my press shall have no share in 
So gross a libel on Mother Erin 
I pity the poor that's why I took 
A redheaded Scotchman to keep my book 
Poor Sister Scotland! Her doom is iell! 
She cannot iind any more Stuarts to sell. 
My conscience is fine as Chinese silk 
My heart is as soit as buttermilk 
Colm can tell you I made a rebate 
Oi a hundred pounds on the estimate 
I gave him for his Irish Review 
I love my country — by herrings I do 
O you should see what tears I weep 
When J think oi the emigrant train & ship 
That's why I send over the countryside 
My quite illegible railway guide 
In the porch oi my printing institute 
The sick and [indigent] /deserving/ prostitute 
Can play [her] /the/ game oi catch-as-catch-can 
With her tight-breeched, British artillery man 
And the stranger can learn the giit oi the gab 
From the drunken, draggletail Dublin drab. 
Who was it said: Resist not evil? 
ni burn those books so help me devil 
Til sing a psalm as I watch them burn 

The Broadsides of James Joyce 13 

And the ashes J']] keep in a one-handJed urn 

TU penance do with farts and groans 

Kneeling upon my marrowbones 

This very next lent I will unbare 

Penitent buttocks to the ail 

And sobbing beside my printing press 

My terrible sin I will confess. 

My Irish foreman from Bannockburn 

Will dip his right hand in the urn 

And sign crisscross with reverent thumb 

Memento homo upon my bum. 

The second draft of this pasquinade is in pencil with ink 
corrections on an unsigned copy of a typed agreement be- 
tween Joyce and Maunsel & Co. The agreement itself throws 
some light on one of the minor mysteries of Joyce biography. 
One set of page proofs of Dubliners printed by Falconer has 
survived. This set was given to Grant Richards by Joyce and 
was used as the printer's copy for the first published edition 
of Dubliners in 1916. Joyce said that he got this copy from 
George Roberts ''by a ruse/' but the nature of the ruse has 
remained a mystery. The form on which Joyce wrote the 
second draft of Gas from a Burner is in all probabiHty the 
missing ruse. Its text in full is as follows: 

30th August, 1912. 
Agreement and Undertaking 

IN consideration of Maunsel and Company Limited 
undertaking to re-read my work dubliners (at present 
regarded by them as containing libellous and/or scandalous 
matter statements or insinuations) I, james joyce, of 

agree that ( 1 ) I will carefully examine 
the proofs of the said work and delete all words passages 
or references which to the best of my knowledge might be 
considered libellous and/or scandalous making the 
necessary substitutions therefor and I further agree that 
(2) the book shall be thereafter read by Maunsel and 
Company's legal advisers and that I will thereafter make 


any further excisions and/or alterations which they may 

I further declare that I enter into this Agreement of my 
own free will and I undertake that all costs of carrying 
it out properly incurred by Maunsel and Company shall be 
deducted from any sum that may accrue to me if and 
after the work is published by them. 


In the presence of 


(2) .::::: : 

The "proofs" Joyce asked for in this agreement with Maunsel 
may well be those which Grant Richards used for the printing 
of Dubliners. 

The text of the second draft reveals Joyce polishing his 
verse and sharpening his sarcasm. The unmetrical * Tittle 
thin booklets published at one and three" disappears. 
''Mother Erin" becomes a "Stepmother"; the audience is 
addressed not as "sir" but as "ladies"; and some lines are 
relocated to make Synge the climactic name in the list of 
Irish authors whom the speaker does print. The other changes 
are similar. The title of this version is written in ink at the 
end of the text of the poem. 

FALCONER ON ' ' D U B L I N E R S ' ' 

Ladies and gents you are here assembled 
To hear why earth and heaven trembled 
Because of the black and sinister arts 
Oi an Irish writer in foreign parts 
He sent me a book ten years ago 
I read it a hundred times or so 
Backwards and forwards, down and up, 
Through both the ends of a telescope. 

The Broadsides of James Joyce 15 

J piinted it all to the very last word 

But hy the mercy oi the Lord 

The darkness of my hiain was rent 

And I saw the writer's ioul intent 

But I owe a duty to Ireland 

I hold her honour in my hand 

This lovely land that always sent 

Her writers and artists to banishment 

And in a spirit oi Irish fun 

Betrayed her own leaders one hy one 

Twas Irish humour wet and dry 

Flung quicklime into ParnelYs eye, 

'Tis Irish brains that save horn doom 

The leaky barge oi the Bishop oi Rome 

For everyone knows the Pope cant belch 

Without the consent oi Billy Walsh 

Oy Ireland, my iirst, my only love 

Where Christ and Caesar are hand and glove 

lovely land where the shamrock grows 
(AlJow me, ladies, to blow my nose) 

To show you for strictures I dont care a button 
J printed the poems oi Mountainy Mutton 
And a play he wrote (youVe read it Tm sure) 
Where they talk oi bastard, bugger & whore 
And a [drama about the apostle Paul] 
/play on the Word and Holy Paul/ 
And some woman's legs that I cant recall 
Written by Moore — [the littery gent] 
/a genuine gent/ 
That lives on his property's ten per cent 

1 printed mystical books in dozens 
I printed the table-book oi Cousins 
Though (asking your pardon) as for the verse 
'Twould give you a heartburn on your arse 

J printed folklore from North & South 

By Gregory oi the Golden Mouth 

I printed poets, sad, silly and solemn 

I printed Patrick What-do-you-CoIm 

I printed the great John Milicent Synge 

Who soars above us on angel's wing 

In the playboy shiit that he pinched as swag 

From MaunseVs manager's travelling-bag. 


But I draw the line at that bloody fellow 

That was over here dressed in Austrian yellow, 

Spouting Itah'an by the hour 

To O'Leaiy Curtis and John Wyse Power 

And writing oi Dubhn, dirty and dear, 

In a manner no [decent man] could bear. 

/blackamore printer/ 
Shite and onions! Do you think Td print 
The name oi the Welh'ngton Monument 
Sydney Parade and the Sandymount tram 
Downes's cakeshop and WiUiams's jam 
Fm damned ii 1 do — Ym damned to blazes — 
Talk about Irish Names of Places 
Ifs a wonder to me — upon my soul — 
He iorgot to mention Curly s Hole. 
No, ladies, my press shaJI have no share in 
So gross a libel on Stepmother Erin 
I pity the poor: that's why I took 
A red-headed Scotchman to keep my book 
Poor sister Scotland! Her doom is fell, 
She cannot End any more Stuarts to sell. 
My conscience is fine as Chinese silk 
My heart is as soft as buttermilk 
Colm can tell you I made a rebate 
Of one hundred pounds on the estimate 
I gave him for his Irish Review 
I love my country — by herrings I do! 
I wish you could see what tears I weep 
When I think of the emigrant train and ship 
That's why I publish far and wide 
My quite illegible railway guide 
In the porch of my printing institute 
The poor and deserving prostitute 
Plays every night at catch-as-catch-can 
With her tight-breeched, British artilleryman 
And the foreigner learns the gift of the gab 
From the drunken, draggletail, Dublin drab 
Who was it said: Resist not evil? 
rU burn [those] /that/ [books] /book/ so help me devil 
ril sing a psalm as I watch them burn 
And the ashes FU keep in a one-handled urn 
FU penance do with farts and groans 

The Broadsides of James Joyce 17 

Kneeling upon my marrowbones. 
This very next Lent I will unbare 
My penitent buttocks to the air 
And sobbing beside my printing press 
My awful sin I will confess 
My Irish foreman from Bannockburn 
Shall dip his right hand in the urn 
And sign crisscross with reverent thumb 
Memento Homo upon my bum. 

James Joyce 
15 . IX . 912 

(written in the train between 
flushing and salzburg ) 

There is a third manuscript of these verses at Cornell, 
written in ink in Joyce's clearest hand. This copy (with the 
title, Gas from a Burner ^ in the left margin) bears the print- 
er's notations mentioned above. As it is not very different 
from the second draft (except in its generally heavier end- 
punctuation) and almost identical with the published ver- 
sion, it is not reproduced here. Of interest, however, is one 
final change Joyce made. Crossing out in line eleven the 
speaker's reference to his "brain," Joyce substituted the word 
"mind," diminishing with one last flick of his pen the con- 
notation of thought which he was willing to allow attributed 
to John Falconer, the "burner" of Dubliners. 


1 . I am indebted to Ottocaro Weiss of New York and Trieste 
for the identification of this firm as a Triestine stationer and 

2. This information is derived from a printer's slip pasted 
on to the fourth and last page of a manuscript of The Holy 
Office in the holograph of James Joyce and signed by him. The 
earlier and abortive Dublin printing of this broadside is treated 
by M. J. O'Neill in the James Joyce Review^ m (1959), 1-2. 

3. Joyce's detailed instructions to Stanislaus were sent in a 
series of four postcards dated from 27 May to 11 June 1905. 


4. In letter size. This notation raises another difficulty. The 
printed broadside does not seem to correspond to what one 
assumes ''letter size" must mean. Gas from a Burner is printed 
on one side of a single sheet almost two feet in length (see John 
J. Slocum and Herbert Gaboon, A Bibliography of James Joyce, 
1 882-1 g/^i, item A-7). But, since the printed version differs 
from the printer's copy-text by a dozen corrections, mostly in 
punctuation, it is possible that Joyce corrected proofs and 
changed the designated format as well. 

5. These letters of 15 October and 9 December 1912 are in 
the Cornell Collection. 

6. See, for example, W. Y. Tindall's edition of Chamber 
Music (New York, 1954), p. 9; and Ellmann and Mason, The 
Critical Writings of James Joyce (New York, 1959), pp. 242 

7. Quoted in Slocum and Cahoon, A-y. 

Ibsen, Joyce, and the Living-Dead 



I N 1900 Joyce wrote two essays in which he announced an 
unquahfied admiration for Ibsen^s later plays. The first, 
"Drama and Life/' dismisses the Greek and EKzabethan 
traditions as outmoded and praises Ibsen for finding ''the 
deathless passions" amid the commonplaces of modern bour- 
geois existence. ''Ibsen's New Drama/' the second, is an 
eulogistic review of When We Dead Awaken^ which con- 
cludes that appreciation is the only fitting response to the 
"perfect" dramatist and "one of the world's great men." 
"The Day of the Rabblement" and the famous letter to 
Ibsen, both written the following year, continue with un- 
checked enthusiasm. According to Richard Ellmann's biog- 
raphy, Joyce carried his crusade to the Continent where he 
frequently defended Ibsen or sought to win new admirers. 
As late as 1936 (during the last stages of work on Finnegans 
Wake) we find him accepting with delight a comparison 
between Ibsen and himself, on another occasion insisting 
that Ibsen is "head and shoulders" above Shakespeare, and 
on still another arguing with James Stephens over the merits 
of Little Eyolf} 

JAMES R. BAKER is in the Department of Humanities of San 
Diego State College. He has published several pieces on Joyce in 
the Arizona Quarterly and elsewhere. At present, he is writing 
a critical study of William Golding. 



The influence of Ibsen on the theme and structure of 
Exiles is a long-estabhshed recognition in Joycean criticism.^ 
In his chapter on 'The Backgrounds of The Dead' " Ell- 
mann extends the range of influence by sketching the pres- 
ence of Ibsen's resurrection motif in a few of the stories of 
Dubliners and in all subsequent work, but the natural as- 
sociation of drama with drama continues to support the no- 
tion that the play is the only really blatant example of Joyce's 

By the end of 1914 Joyce had pubhshed Chamber Music, 
finished Dubliners, Portrait of the Artist, and Exiles, as well 
as the early plans for Ulysses. In a period of fourteen years, 
then, he conceived his basic subjects and techniques. It 
would be surprising to find that his regard for Ibsen had a 
significant function only in the case of the play. I wish to 
argue here that Dubliners affords not only an earlier but an 
even more radical example than Exiles. Like Ibsen's ''social" 
dramas, Dubliners is an expose of the paralysis of spirit 
which binds the urban bourgeois. Less obvious, the basic 
themes, the structural design, and symbolism of the stories 
parallel Ibsen's work in the group of plays beginning with A 
DolVs House and ending with When We Dead Awaken. 
The last play is most crucial because it provided for Joyce a 
neatly condensed version of the symbolic parable he was to 
repeat all his life, from Chamber Music through Finnegans 

In his review of When We Dead Awaken Joyce notes 
that this play is the final member in a succession of eleven 
works dealing with "modern life," "a grand epilogue to its 
ten predecessors." For Ibsen it was the culmination of a 
theme which had occupied him at least twenty years — the 
vital ranges of experience beyond the lifeless region of the bour- 
geoisie and the problem for the artist of striking a balance 
between the dangers of rigid isolation and debilitating in- 
volvement. Joyce finds in it the embodiment of his own pre- 
occupations: the problem of the artist's relationship to a 

Ibsen, Joyce, and the Living-Dead 21 

spiritually mean society, the penalties of aloofness from the 
common stream of life, and, most pertinent for the stories 
shaping in his mind, a comprehensive dramatization of the 
pitiful failure of men to awaken from the somnolence which 
holds them among the living-dead. 

Joyce begins his summary of the plot by pointing out that 
it is composed of a series of dialogues in which the major 
characters, the sculptor Rubeck and his former model, Irene, 
produce in each other the realization that they have "for- 
feited" their hves: Rubeck, for the sake of his art; Irene, be- 
cause she has held herself aloof in an unrequited passion 
for Rubeck. The result is that both are essentially "dead." 
The same failure is immanent in the psychology of the minor 
figures, Maia, Rubeck's young and bored wife, and Ulfheim, 
the bitter recluse who has been rejected by his beloved. The 
two sets of characters form a counterpoint built upon the 
single theme of resurrection. Joyce demonstrates his com- 
plete understanding by selecting for quotation the lines 
which most clearly define the burden of a complex and (at 
least in the William Archer translation) heavily sentimental 

IRENE: We see the irretrievable only when {breaks short 

RUBECK: {looks inquiringly at her). When? 
IRENE: When we dead awaken.^ 

From the concluding scenes he adeptly chooses the follow- 

IRENE: The love that belongs to the life of earth — the 
beautiful, miraculous life of earth — the inscrutable life of 
earth — that is dead in both of us. 

RUBECK: {throwing his arms violently about her). Then 
let two of the dead — us two — for once live life to its 
uttermost, before we go down to our graves again. 

In his analysis of the characters the reviewer offers an in- 
terpretation of Rubeck which is something of a departure 


from Ibsen's obvious projection of himself — the aging artist 
who reahzes too late the price of isolation and dedication to 
aesthetic motives. ''Arnold Rubeck/' comments Joyce, "is 
not intended to be a genius, as perhaps Eljert Lovborg [in 
Hedda Gabler] is. Had he been a genius like Eljert he would 
have understood in a truer way the value of his life. But . . . 
the facts that he is devoted to his art and that he has at- 
tained to a degree of mastery in it — mastery of hand linked 
with limitation of thought — tells us that there may be lying 
dormant in him a capacity for greater life, which may be 
exercised when he, a dead man, shall have risen from among 
the dead'''*' (italics mine). Thus Rubeck's masterpiece, a 
statue called ''The Resurrection/' becomes the ironic symbol 
of the divorce between his art and his life. His personal 
resurrection comes too late, on the eve of his death. As he 
ascends the "Peak of Promise" with Irene, they are buried 
in the descending snow of an avalanche. 

I have italicized the final portion of Joyce's comment on 
Rubeck because it defines with faultless precision the status 
of the characters in Dubliners. Most of them are summoned 
by these words: the boy of "The Sisters" and "Araby," 
Evehne, Little Chandler, Maria, Mr. Duffy, the wardmen 
of "Ivy Day in the Committee Room," and Gabriel Con- 
roy. Each of these is "an outcast from life's feast," a member 
of the great host of the living-dead. For Joyce, as for Ibsen, 
"the timeless passions" are "lying dormant" in these drab 
lives. The Norwegian master offered eleven plays; Joyce 
offers fifteen miniature dramas on the same theme. Com- 
menting on the relations between drama and modern hfe, 
the young essayist of 1900 formulates a statement of the 
aesthetic motives he was to pursue so consistently in Dub- 
liners. "Still I think out of the dreary sameness of existence, 
a measure of dramatic life may be drawn. Even the most 
commonplace, the deadest among the living, may play a part 
in a great drama." ^ Thus the real unity of Dubliners derives 
from the condensed symboHsm of Ibsen's last play. The 

Ibsen, Joyce, and the Living-Dead 23 

technique of epiphany is only a means to an end, the pattern 
of eastward and westward movements ^ only an adjunct to 
the Ibsenesque juxtaposition of life and death, and the 
Homeric counterparts^ (if they exist at all) are occasional 
analogies which function within the larger scheme provided 
by the dramatist's example. 

When We Dead Awaken utilizes the same key metaphor 
which in one form or another appears in its predecessors — 
the comparison of the unawakened living with the dead. In 
A DolVs House Nora's existence is clearly a living death. 
Mrs. Alving of Ghosts adheres to a restrictive and Puritani- 
cal code of moral duties which prevents her from entering 
into a vital life. Paralyzed herself, she thus becomes re- 
sponsible for the passionate indulgences of her husband and 
the consequent death of both husband and son. The dor- 
mant passions of Solness, the architect of The Master 
Builder, are awakened by the lively Hilda. In a strange final 
scene he escapes from the shroud which practical and moral 
demands have closed about him, and at the moment of his 
death rises to his former greatness. 

It is obvious that Joyce adopted for Duhliners the basic 
metaphor which pervades this entire group of plays. But he 
also borrowed from them a device which is commonly traced 
to another source, his Catholic training. It was in Ibsen, 
however, that he found the basis for the technique of 
"epiphany." When We Dead Awaken is characteristic in its 
structure — a pattern in which the central character, through 
the stress of some unexpected crisis, is driven to an epiphanaic 
moment that reveals him as spiritually dead. The same 
structural design is typical of the stories in Duhliners. In 
''Araby" and ''A Painful Case," for example, the initial 
vignette of paralysis is followed by an excruciating denoue- 
ment in which reality rushes in upon the unprepared con- 
sciousness of the central character. Where the revelation is 
for the reader alone (*'Two Gallants" or ''Grace"), the per- 
sistent ironic metaphor emerges in a climactic scene. Con- 


ditioned by his Christian education, Joyce calls the instant 
of perception ''epiphany/' and so underscores the saving 
quality of a revelation containing the seeds not only of 
suffering but resurrection. While his term is clearly borrowed 
from the Christian context, the applied technique of 
epiphany is an adaptation of the structural principle com- 
mon to Ibsen's dramas. It is v^^orth noting that Joyce wrote 
most of the short sketches he called "Epiphanies" in a three 
year period beginning in 1900, at the very same time he was 
absorbing Ibsen's work. One of the "Epiphanies" is about 
Ibsen himself. And some of them image situations which 
foreshadow the stories in Dubliners: A "sudden spiritual 
manifestation" reveals the drabness or vulgarity of things, a 
latent passion for freedom, an abrupt awakening to life's 
possibilities.^ Psychological suffering during the experience of 
epiphany and the promise of belated resurrection (so com- 
mon in Dubliners) is stock Ibsen. One can imagine the de- 
light with which Joyce discovered in the plays a convergence 
of the Christian, the secular, and the aesthetic. 

He must have found equally appealing the rich irony 
which Ibsen develops again and again by allowing the voices 
of the dead to inform the living-dead. In A DolVs House, for 
example, the very presence of Dr. Rank in the Helmer house- 
hold stresses the urgency of Nora's awakening. Rank is fated 
to live with the knowledge that he must soon die. Afflicted 
with a steadily advancing paralysis, a heritage from his 
father's indulgences, he adores beauty and vitality. On the 
eve of his death, he tells Nora of his love for her. Thus do 
the lost and ghostly passions of the dead become the agents 
of resurrection. Hedda Gabler's suicide follows quickly upon 
her recognition that the dead Lovborg embodies the passion- 
ate creativity which is foreign to the listless bourgeoisdom 
she inhabits. The device is characteristic, and the examples 
can be multiplied. 

With ingenious variation Joyce employs in Dubliners the 
same means of achieving irony and pathos. And just as in 

Ibsen, Joyce, and the Living-Dead 25 

Ibsen the effect is to reinforce, either for the reader or a 
character suffering epiphany, the comparison of Uving and 
dead. In both "The Sisters" and "Araby" the frightening 
portent of paralysis and death is represented in the figure of 
a dead priest, and in each case it provokes in the child a bid 
for escape. Eveline, appalled by the fate of her dead mother, 
attempts to break out but fails. In ''A Painful Case" the 
ghost of Emily Sinico illuminates for Duffy his outcast state 
and his status as one of the living-dead. A similar humiliation 
comes to Gabriel Conroy as his aerial and frigid soul is 
chastened by the visit of Michael Furey. 

If we consider the problem which occupied Joyce's youth 
— his passionate quest for freedom from home, fatherland, 
and church — the appeal of Ibsen seems inevitable. In the 
invidious metaphor which dominates the later plays, and 
in the dramatic evolution designed to torture and expose 
bourgeois lassitude, Joyce found confirmation of his personal 
and aesthetic motives. On the very eve of exile, as he pre- 
pared to encounter ''the reality of experience" and resolved 
to forge ''the uncreated conscience" of his race, he found in 
Ibsen the techniques that were to carry him to fulfillment. 
Within the Ibsen framework he saw the possibility of in- 
dulging all his predilections: his delight in ironic humor, his 
nearly obsessive awareness of the pathos of smothered poten- 
tials and dreams, his Jesuit penchant for moral analysis and 
categorizing, and, under the aegis of dramatic "objectivity," 
an opportunity for persecution of "the most belated race in 

Interpretation of Dubliners in the light of the Ibsen para- 
ble often resolves points of disagreement among the com- 
mentators.^ The early dismissal of the collection as an 
example of pure naturahsm has given way (and properly so) 
to close analysis and the search for a pervading and unifying 
symbolism. The usual conclusion is that the symbology stems 
mainly if not exclusively from Joyce's Catholic background. 
Some of the interpretations offered on this basis are useful, 


but where Joyce utilizes the Christian paraphemaha it func- 
tions at a secondary level and within the dominant Ibsen 
scheme. The two converge in Dubliners, and they meet again 
in all the subsequent works. Every story in Dubliners de- 
pends to one degree or another on the Ibsen formula, but 
the most subtle uses of his example appear in stories where 
there is little or no consciously articulated epiphany. I would 
like to examine a few of these in order to suggest some of 
the modes of application. 

In "An Encounter/' "After the Race," "Two Gallants/' 
"The Boarding House/' "Counterparts/' and "A Mother" 
there is little so immediately striking as the patterns found 
in "A Painful Case" or "The Dead." Yet these stories share 
the common pattern, and one has to shift the counters only 
slightly to see the Ibsen metaphor: Dublin is the realm of 
the living-dead, paralysis exists on every level of experience 
and at every stage of life. This same group is also typical in 
that the central characters fail to develop a conscious recog- 
nition of their state — even though their situation invariably 
offers the opportunity. The "epiphany" generally resides in 
a concatenation of events which is wasted upon the person 
most vitally concerned. The majority of Dubliners remain 
"dead" and pass by, like unimpressionable spirits, the very 
means of their resurrection. 

"Two Gallants," ostensibly a bitterly realistic story of 
moral degradation, depends for its effects on a harmonious 
blend of atmosphere and characterization. Its ironies are far 
more subtle than those suggested by the title. The adventure 
begins as "the grey web of twilight" passes across "the large 
faint moon circled [portentously] with a double halo." As 
the two young men walk through the dim streets they hear 
the melancholy tones of "Silent, O Moyle," the air which 
later controls the movements of Lenehan in his lonely 
wandering. Characterized as a leech, Lenehan is prematurely 
gray and his face is "winnowed of vigour," Though he is only 
thirty-one he is "vanquished" and "weary." Unattached, job- 

Ibsen, Joyce, and the Living-Dead 27 

less, "a sporting vagrant" associated with "racing tissues/' he 
lives for the most part off of loans and handouts from dis- 
reputable friends. His companion Corley is a burly automa- 
ton (his bearing a reflection of his egocentricity) who lives 
by informing the police and by the exploitation of prosti- 
tutes. Spiritually, both men are ghouls: Corley feeds upon 
the sterile souls of his "tarts," and Lenehan, volitionless him- 
self, clings to Corley for subsistence. As Lenehan sits in the 
shop waiting for Corley's return, he participates vicariously: 
"In his imagination he beheld the pair of lovers walking 
along some dark road; he heard Corley's voice in deep ener- 
getic gallantries and saw again the leer of the young woman's 
mouth." He moves into the street and takes his stand in the 
shadow of a lamp where "he suffered all the pangs and thrills 
of his friend's situation as well as those of his own." When 
Corley returns in triumph, he stares "grimly before him" 
and "with a grave gesture" shows to his "disciple" the small 
gold coin he has taken from the girl. And so the imagery of 
death and the grave serves to symbolize the eerie and morbid 
exchanges in which the spiritually dead take from one an- 
other a corrupt and enfeebling subsistence. Corley's final 
gesture is made in confident pride and Lenehan, the leech, 
congratulates him. Neither youth is aware of the spiritual 
somnolence which their evening reflects. 

Several of the commentaries on "Clay" have insisted upon 
an analogy between Maria, the virginal peacemaker, and 
Mary, the Holy Virgin. But in the case of Maria there has 
been no miraculous birth; she has no husband, secular or 
spiritual; she has been a nurse for Joe and Alphy, but never 
a mother. Maria has rejected marriage and takes pride in her 
sterile body and her sterile life. As she dresses for the Hallows 
Eve party she looks "with quaint affection at the diminutive 
body" and finds it "a nice tidy little body." And as she 
reviews her petty plans for the evening she thinks, "how 
much better it was to be independent and to have vour own 
money in your pocket." This deadly pride in virginity and 


independence is complimented by Maria's reputation as a 
"peacemaker." At the "Dublin by Lamplight" laundry she 
settles the disputes of the women, and at the Donnelly's 
home she smothers several of Joe's angry outbursts. In short, 
her reputation stems from her abhorrence of passion of any 
kind. She can endure no encroachment upon the drab and 
static sensibility which marks her as one of the living-dead. 
It is Hallows Eve. Ghosts, witches, goblins, all the spirits of 
the dead, are abroad. Maria is among them: the ghost of a 
woman, an ugly witch (traditionally the epitome of sterile 
and morbid femininity) from the realm of the dead. 

The ring, the prayerbook, and the clay itself have a com- 
mon symbolic function. They form a trinity, and the order 
of their occurrence traces the line of Maria's evolution. The 
ring is a symbol of the secular or profane passion which 
Maria has rejected; the prayerbook is a symbol of a passionate 
spiritual marriage (such as the nun's union with Christ), 
but Maria is incapable of fruitful sacrifice and devotion. 
When she touches the clay a double irony emerges, for the 
clay is simultaneously the symbol of her hfe and her im- 
minent physical death. When the prayerbook is quickly sub- 
stituted and Mrs. Donnelly announces merrily that Maria 
will enter a convent, the irony is not diluted but increased: 
to enter the convent is to continue her death in life. So deep 
is her paralysis, the twice-repeated verses of the song fail to 
do their work, and "no one tried to show her her mistake." 
Maria's irretrievable mistake is the rejection of passional life, 
a rejection so habitual that it nullifies every revelatory sugges- 
tion, the hints by the laundry women, the sarcasm of the shop- 
girl, the attentions of the tipsy gentleman on the tram, the 
clay, the song, and Joe's tearful scrabbling for the corkscrew. 

The insensibility of the child, the adolescent, and the adult 
is duplicated in the "pubhc life" of the community. "Ivy 
Day in the Committee Room," "A Mother," and "Grace" 
constitute an ironic trilogy exposing the lifelessness of poli- 
tics, art, and religion. In comparison with its companion 

Ibsen, Joyce, and the Living-Dead 29 

pieces, "A Mother" has received very httle critical attention. 
Yet the episode it presents is a richly symbolic comment on 
the fate of aesthetic values in Joyce's Dublin. The three 
members of the Eire Abu Society suggest something of the 
spirit behind the concert series. Holohan, the assistant secre- 
tary, is crippled and ineffectual. The chief secretary, Mr. 
Fitzpatrick, is "a little man with a white, vacant face," a 
''flat" accent and a "vacant" smile. When the first concert 
fails Mrs. Kearney observes that Fitzpatrick ''seemed to bear 
disappointments hghtly." Miss Beirne has "an oldish face 
which was screwed into an expression of trustfulness and 
enthusiasm." Taken together, these three spell out the com- 
munity attitudes toward the arts. 

Mrs. Kearney takes upon herself the task of infusing life 
and efficiency into this listless group, and in the attempt she 
becomes the spiritual "mother" of art. Her qualifications are 
implicit in the sketch of her girlhood and her marriage. As 
a young woman she was taught the social graces in a convent. 
Pale and unbending, she developed "ivory manners" and 
"sat amid the chilly circle of her accomplishments, waiting 
for some suitor to brave it and offer her a brilliant hfe." But 
the rescuer fails to appear. She is forced to suppress her ro- 
mantic fancies and marries an older man "out of spite." The 
marriage is as passionless as the wooden souls of husband 
and wife, but Mrs. Kearney "never put her own romantic 
ideas away." Thus when the Irish Revival becomes popular 
she sees in it an opportunity for genteel indulgence of her 
suppressed romanticism. And in this respect she represents 
the motives which in Joyce's mind characterized the move- 
ment—the attempt by a staid and essentially paralyzed 
people to capitalize on the safely remote passions of the 

The graceless mediocrity of the concerts (which awaken 
very httle response in the city) is symbolized by Madam 
Glynn, the ancient soprano. She is a "solitary woman" with 
"a pale face." A "faded blue dress is stretched upon her 


meagre body/' and as she stands waiting her turn **The 
shadow took her faded dress into shelter but fell revenge- 
fully into the little cup behind her collar bone." The younger 
ladies wonder where they dug her up. When she sings Kil- 
larney ''in a bodiless gasping voice" she appears to have been 
''resurrected from an old stage-wardrobe." 

As the first concert "expires" Mrs. Kearney senses the ulti- 
mate collapse of the series and takes steps to protect the 
eight guinea contract which her daughter Kathleen holds for 
her work as accompanist. The last scene, in which Mrs. 
Kearney demands payment, involves multiple irony. Like her 
fellow citizens, she allows her instinctive material values to 
supersede the repressed romantic and aesthetic impulses, thus 
indicating the shallowness of these motives. Thwarted in her 
bid for a safe, vicarious fulfillment, she bursts into an angry 
passion over a small sum of money, and resuming her role 
as natural mother, leads the willess doll, Kathleen, from the 
hall. The committee, in its refusal to pay, evidences the 
same meanness of spirit. Mr. O'Madden Burke, representa- 
tive of the public press, offers a concluding remark which 
sums up (like a post-mortem) the prevailing opinion: "You 
did the proper thing, Holohan." 

"The Dead" was apparently written last, but it was cer- 
tainly not "appended" to the volume merely for the purpose 
of toning down the biting judgments of the earher pieces. 
Its great quality lies in the nearly perfect manipulation of 
the basic metaphor and technique which function through- 
out the volume. It is the culmination of a sustained and 
unified effort. With "The Dead" Joyce's skill comes to ma- 
turity, and we have a fully realized prose drama that equals 
or excels the art of his master. This is not to say that all of 
the other stories are inferior, but the characters who inhabit 
them constitute a limitation which inhibits the complete 
realization of possibilities latent in Joyce's subject. Since the 
characters do not achieve a significant degree of self-aware- 
ness, the epiphany cannot be fully articulated. And in keeping 

Ibsen, Joyce, and the Living-Dead 31 

with the restraint of ''dramatic" presentation, it must be 
rendered by the arrangement of ironies inherent in the various 
situations. These facts account for the obscurity and ambi- 
guity in some of the stories. The effects are often over-subtle, 
the suggestions too frail to bear a maximum of implication. 
Thus most of the characters are pathetic but not tragic crea- 
tures. The young boy of the first three sketches merely intuits 
the nature of his environment; the adolescents of the next 
four either capitulate at the moment of crisis or remain un- 
conscious of their peril; among the adults only Mr. Duffy 
and Gabriel Conroy drink a full measure of bitters; and all 
the participants in community affairs (from the priests and 
politicians down to the artistes) are hopelessly impervious. 
'*A Painful Case" and "The Dead" are notable exceptions 
because the two intelligences which dominate them make it 
possible for Joyce to arrive at a dignified and explicit articu- 
lation of the tragic dimension implicit in his design. For the 
same reason they contain the most obvious applications of 
the Ibsen theme and technique. ''A Painful Case," however, 
is inferior to the final story. Though Mr. Duffy comes to 
realize his blindness and his guilt, his epiphany does not 
carry him beyond the borders of his own life; it leaves him 
an "outcast," living utterly alone, cut off even from the 
communion of suffering. The superior range and develop- 
ment of "The Dead" is possible because Gabriel Conroy has 
the intelhgence and the imaginative vision to extend the 
implications of his own epiphany and so perceive the universal 
tragedy involving "all the living and the dead." His provin- 
cial ego dissolves, and in the twilight of that demise he sees 
that the indifferent snow descends over the entire cosmos of 
souls. In Gabriel's evolution one can measure the widening 
arc of Joyce's own perspective, the fruit of his studied ap- 
prenticeship to Ibsen. 



1. Richard Ellmann, James Joyce (New York, 1959), pp. 701, 
707, 709-10. 

2. James T. Farrell, **Exiles and Ibsen," in James Joyce: Two 
Decades of Criticism, ed. Seon Givens (New York, 1948), pp. 
95-131; Francis Fergusson, "A Reading of Exiles'' (Preface), 
Exiles (Norfolk, Connecticut, 1945), PP- v-xviii. 

3. The passages from the play are cited by Joyce in "Ibsen's 
New Drama," The Critical Writings, eds. Ellsworth Mason and 
Richard Ellmann (New York, 1959), pp. 59, 61. 

4. Ibid., pp. 65-66. 

5. "Drama and Life," The Critical Writings, p. 45. 

6. Brewster Ghiselin, 'The Unity of Joyce's Dubliners/' Ac- 
cent, XVI (Spring 1956), 75-88, and (Summer 1956), 196-213. 

7. Richard Levin and Charles Shattuck, "First Flight to 
Ithaca," in James Joyce: Two Decades of Criticism, pp. 47-94. 

8. See Epiphanies, edited with an introduction and notes by 
O. A. Silverman (Buffalo, New York, 1956). 

9. A selected checklist of criticism of the individual stories, 
compiled by Maurice Beebe and Walton Litz, appears in Mod- 
ern Fiction Studies, iv (Spring 1958), 83-85. 

Joyce's Sermon on Hell: Its Source and 
Its Backgrounds 


STEPHEN' S effort, in Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist 
as a Young Mczn/ to impose a romantic order upon the 
adolescent tumult within him and the Dublin commonplace- 
ness without is soon exhausted, like his pot of pink paint. 
The phantom of Dumas's Mercedes is made flesh in Night- 
town, and soon, deep in mortal sin, Stephen sits in the chapel 
of Belvedere College on a gloomy December day while the 
retreat master remorselessly expounds the spectacles and tor- 
ments of hell. Overwhelmed by fear and remorse, Stephen 
confesses his sins and once more sets about ordering his life 
— no longer by outworn configurations of romance but by 
the admonitory consciousness of death, judgment, hell, and 
heaven. However, when he is urged to ask himself whether 
he has a vocation, his long-standing dissatisfactions with a 
church that has too much of the Dublin earth about it as- 
sume definite form, and he concludes that his freedom must 
remain inviolate, that "self-doomed, unafraid," he must learn 
wisdom "apart from others . . . wandering among the snares 
of the world." 

The reactions of most readers to Father Arnall's depiction 
of eternal tortures have been less extreme than Stephen's. 

JAMES R. THRANE HOW teacHcs at The University of Wisconsin- 



Farrell calls it "one of the most magnificently written pas- 
sages in all of Joyce's work/' comparable with Dante, and all 
have granted its dramatic effectiveness. But few readers can 
judge the sermon and the phase of development that it opens 
apart from their own assumptions and commitments: Father 
Arnall's words produce something like awe, amusement, or 
scorn (and little more) in Magalaner, Tindall, and Kenner. 
Catholic writers, with no hostile bias, nevertheless have ob- 
jected to the sermon, one critic. Father Noon, holding that 
it is not a ''comprehensive or characteristic Catholic ac- 
count." 2 Kevin Sullivan's recent study of Joyce among the 
Jesuits contains a somewhat more thorough study than these 
of the sermon as well as of Stephen's short-lived effort to live 
remembering the four last things only. Pointing out the 
retreat's relationship to St. Ignatius' Spiritual Exercises, Sul- 
livan also examines Stephen's new rule of life in relation to 
the manual of the Belvedere College sodality of which Joyce 
was prefect for two years. He concludes that this manual, 
compiled by Father James A. Cullen, S.J., was "the primary, 
if not the exclusive, source" of the plan by which Stephen 
lays out his life in devotional areas.^ This is possible, al- 
though, as Sullivan says, many books of devotion treat such 
topics similarly. However, he goes on to suggest, on the basis 
of eight passages containing more or less similar phrases, that 
the manual was also the source of the sermon on hell. Here, 
I believe, he is mistaken. The primary — probably the sole 
— printed source of this sermon was, as I will show, the 
English version of an Italian tract called in translation Hell 
Opened to ChristianSy To Caution Them from Entering 
into It, written by Giovanni Fietro Pinamonti, a seventeenth- 
century Jesuit. This title is not entirely new to Joyce stu- 
dents: J. F. Byrne recalls that "Hell Open [sic] to Christians'' 
was displayed (not inappropriately) with the Deadwood 
Dicks in Josh Strong's bookshop at 26, Wellington Quay, 
where Mr. Bloom hopefully selects Molly's reading; and 
there is also assistant town clerk Henry's peevish complaint 

Joyce* s Sermon on Hell 35 

(*'Hell open to christians they were having . . . about their 
damned Irish language") in the Wandering Rocks section 
of Ulysses (p. 243), which may indicate that the title had 
a sort of proverbial status in the gray inferno of Joyce's 
Dublin. At least, so Byrne uses it, fifty years later.* 

Father Pinamonti (1632-1703), born in Pistoia of a noble 
family, entered the Society of Jesus in 1647. Illness forcing 
him to lay aside his studies, he gave up a teaching career in 
favor of rural mission work, in which for twenty-six years 
he was the companion of the famed preacher Paolo Segneri. 
His own preaching brought Pinamonti the friendship of 
Cosimo III, grand duke of Tuscany, and other notables, and 
such works as La Religiosa in solitudine (1695) and II Diret- 
tore (posth. 1705) carried his fame beyond Italy. Ulnferno 
aperto al cristiano perche non ventri: Considerazioni delle 
pene infernali proposte a meditarsi per eyitarle^ first pub- 
lished anonymously at Bologna in 1688, went through many 
editions and was translated into Latin, French, German, 
Spanish, and Portuguese. It first appeared in English, anony- 
mously translated, at London (?) in 1715, and passed through 
at least six more editions in the next hundred-odd years. The 
two editions of Victorian times that concern us appeared at 
Derby in 1844, probably as one of the Derby Catholic Book 
Society's numerous pubhcations, and at Dubhn in 1868, from 
the well-known firm of James Duffy, Wellington Quay. The 
text of the latter edition, which I have used and which 
corresponds so closely with the Portrait sermon, is probably 
the one used in all earlier printings; the extracts given by 
Dearmer^ from the 1753 edition (Dubhn) differ only in 
punctuation and spelling. At any rate, aside from a few 
omitted phrases and errors in biblical references, the trans- 
lation is accurate and fairly literal, although not enough so 
as to make it at all probable that Joyce ever saw the Italian 
original.^ Like the others, this 1868 edition, a badly printed 
forty-eight-page pamphlet, is illustrated with seven grotesque 
woodcuts showing fettered sinners tormented by the ever- 


lasting fire of Matthew, chapter 25, and the undying worm 
of Mark, chapter 9. These pictures have had much to do 
with the notoriety accorded the tract since the late nine- 
teenth century; in one influential Victorian commentator 
they evoked a guilt "which called for the performance of a 
lustration." '' 

Hell Opened to Christians, following a traditional pattern 
in devotional literature, consists of seven daily ''Considera- 
tions" or meditations, each analyzed, somewhat arbitrarily, 
under three points and concluding with a short prayer to a 
different sacred personage. (Joyce has not used the prayers 
or the sermon *'On the Joys of Heaven" — evidently not by 
Pinamonti — that concludes the 1868 version.) The con- 
siderations themselves analyze the twofold punishment^ of 
mortal sin, the first three examining the poena sensus or 
pain of sense: (1) The Prison of Hell (its straitness, dark- 
ness, and stench); (2) The Fire (its quahty, quantity, and 
intenseness ) ; and (3) The Company of the Damned (the 
damned themselves, the devils, and the accomplices in sin). 
Father ArnalFs Friday-morning sermon comprises these points 
in this order, save that it treats as one topic the lost souls and 
the accomplices of the third consideration. His afternoon 
sermon is based, nearly as closely, on Pinamonti's remaining 
four considerations, which set forth the poena damni or 
pains consequent on the eternal loss of the beatific vision: 
(4) The Pain of Loss (it is infinite, most painful, and retrib- 
utive); (5) The Sting of Conscience (memory of past 
pleasures, fruitless remorse, and good occasions neglected); 
(6) The Pain of Extension (despair from the infiniteness and 
intensity of spiritual pangs and from the damned souls' com- 
parison of their lot with that of the saints); and (7) Eternity 
(pain is endless, unchangeable, and just).^ 

Or, in Maurice Daedalus' laconic precis, "Stink in the 
morning and pain of loss in the evening" {Stephen Hero, 

Resemblance, of course, does not necessarily mean indebt- 

Joyce*s Sermon on Hell 37 

edness. This plan of organization is common in a tradition of 
devotional literature that has long flourished, especially dur- 
ing the seventeenth century. The sermon has, in fact, so 
many affinities with this tradition that they need separate 
consideration. This — along with the scarceness of Pina- 
monti's tract — is why I have printed below most of the 
sermon's passages together with their equivalents in Hell 
Opened to Christians (1868 ed.). The obvious correspond- 
ences not merely in image, example, and organization but 
even in sequence and phrasing should leave httle doubt con- 
cerning Joyce's extensive use of the Italian's work; and, as 
I will show, only a work that corresponds to Joyce's as closely 
as Pinamonti's does merits consideration as its source at all. 

Hell Opened to Christians A Portrait of the Artist 

[Isa. 5:14 (Hell hath enlarged . . ."), Father Arnall's text 
for the morning sermon (Portrait, p. ^yo) appears in Hell 
Opened (twice, on pp. 4 and 12), as do all other texts he 

[First Consideration: The 
Straitness of the Prison of 
Hell.] Consider, that the first 
injustice a soul offers to God, 
is the . . . breaking [of] his 
commandments, and declaring 
not to be willing to serve him: 
**Thou saidst, I will not serve." 
— Jer. ii. To punish, therefore, 
so great a boldness, God has 
framed a prison in the lowest 
part of the universe. . . . 
Here though the place itself 
be wide enough, the damned 
will not even have that relief, 
which ... a poor prisoner has 
in walking between four walls 
. . . because they shall be 
bound up like a faggot, and 
heaped upon one another . . . 
and this by reason of the great 
number of the damned, to 

Lucifer, we are told, was . . . 
a radiant and mighty angel; 
yet he fell. . . . What his sin 
was we cannot say. Theologians 
consider that it was . . . the 
sinful thought conceived in an 
instant: non serviam: I will not 
serve. . . . (370-71) 

The straitness of this prison 
house is expressly designed by 
God to punish those who re- 
fused to be bound by His laws. 
In earthly prisons the poor 
captive has at least some liberty 
of movement, were it only 
within the four walls of his 
cell. . . . Not so in hell. 
There, by reason of the great 


Hell Opened to Christians 

whom this great pit will be- 
come narrow and strait. 
. . . {y-8) Those miserable 
wretches will not only be 
straitened, but also be im- 
moveable; and, therefore, if a 
blessed saint, as St. Anselm 
says, in his book of Similitudes, 
will be strong enough ... to 
move the whole earth: a 
damned soul will be so weak, 
as not to be able even to re- 
move from the eye a worm that 
is gnawing it. The walls of this 
prison are more than four thou- 
sand miles thick. ... (8) 

Consider, that this prison 
will not only be extremely 
strait, but also extremely dark. 
It is true, there will be a fire, 
but without light. . . . That 
will be true ... by a con- 
trary miracle to what was 
wrought in the Babylonian 
furnace, for there, by the com- 
mand of God, the heat was 
taken from the fire, but not 
the light of brightness: but in 
hell, the fire will lose its light, 
but not its heat. Moreover, 
this same fire, burning with 
brimstone, will have a search- 
ing flame, which being mingled 
with the rolling smoke of that 
infernal cave, will . . . raise a 
storm of darkness, according 
to what is written . . . [in] 
Jude xiii. . . . (8-9) Finally, 
the same mass of bodies heaped 
one upon another will . . . 
make up a part of that dreadful 
night; not a glimpse of trans- 
parent air being left to the eye 
of the damned. ... (9) If 
amongst all the plagues of 


A Portrait of the Artist 

number of the damned, the 
prisoners are heaped together 
in their awful prison, the walls 
of which are said to be four 
thousand miles thick: and the 
damned are so utterly bound 
and helpless that, as a blessed 
saint. Saint Anselm, writes in 
his book on similitudes, they 
are not even able to remove 
from the eye a worm that 
gnaws it (373). [Note that it 
is Pinamonti, not Anselm, who 
speaks of a worm gnawing the 

— They lie in exterior dark- 
ness. For, remember, the fire 
of hell gives forth no light. As, 
at the command of God, the 
fire of the Babylonian furnace 
lost its heat but not its light 
so, at the command of God, 
the fire of hell, while retaining 
the intensity of its heat, burns 
eternally in darkness. It is a 
neverending storm of darkness, 
dark flames and dark smoke of 
burning brimstone, 

amid which the bodies are 
heaped one upon another with- 
out even a glimpse of air. 

Of all the plagues with which 

Joyce*s Sermon on Hell 
Hell Opened to Christians 

Egypt, darkness alone was 
called horrible; what name 
shall we give to that darkness, 
which is not to last for three 
days only, but for all eterni- 

ty [?] (9) 

Consider, how much the 
horror of this prison, so strait 
and obscure, must be height- 
ened, by the addition of the 
greatest stench. First, thither, 
as to a common sewer, all the 
filth of the earth shall run 
after the fire of the last day 
has purged the world. Sec- 
ondly, the brimstone itself con- 
tinually burning in such a pro- 
digious quantity, will cause a 
stench not to be borne. 
Thirdly, the very bodies of the 
damned will exhale so pesti- 
lential a stench, that if any 
one of them were to be placed 
here on earth, it would be 
enough, as St. Bonaventure ob- 
serves, to cause a general in- 
fection (9). . . . Air, itself, 
being for a time closely shut 
up, becomes insupportable; — 
judge, then, what those un- 
happy prisoners must suffer 
from the collected sink [sic] 
of this eternally loathsome 
abyss (9). 

[Second Consideration: The 
Quality of the Fire.] . . . 
Even among men there never 
was found a greater torment 
[than fire]. {11) . . . If . . . 
we cannot bear ever so little 
awhile [sic] the flame of a 
candle, how shall we for ever 
be buried in flames . . . ? 
{12) Nevertheless, you must 


A Portrait of the Artist 

the land of the Pharaohs was 
smitten one plague alone, that 
of darkness, was called horri- 
ble. What name, then, shall 
we give to the darkness of hell 
which is to last not for three 
days alone but for all eternity? 

— The horror of this strait 
and dark prison is (373) in- 
creased by its awful stench. 
All the filth of the world, all 
the offal and scum of the 
world, we are told, shall run 
there as to a vast reeking sewer 
when the terrible conflagration 
of the last day has purged the 
world. The brimstone, too, 
which burns there in such 
prodigious quantity fills all hell 
with its intolerable stench; and 
the bodies of the damned 
themselves exhale such a pesti- 
lential odour that as Saint 
Bonaventure says, one of them 
alone would suffice to infect 
the whole world. The very air 
of this world, that pure ele- 
ment, becomes foul and un- 
breathable when it has been 
long enclosed. Consider then 
what must be the foulness of 
the air of hell. . . . (374) 

. . . The torment of fire is the 
greatest torment to which the 
tyrant has ever subjected his 
fellowcreatures. Place your fin- 
ger for a moment in the flame 
of a candle and you will feel 
the pain of fire. 


Hell Opened to Christians 

not think the fire of hell is like 
ours. . . . Our fire is created 
for the benefit of man, to serve 
him as a help in most arts, and 
for the maintaining of life; but 
the fire of hell was only created 
for God to revenge himself of 
the wicked. . . . Our fire is 
often applied to subjects not 
at all proportioned to its ac- 
tivity; but the fire of hell is 
kindled by a sulphureous and 
bituminous matter, which will 
always burn with unspeakable 
fury. . . . (ii) Finally, our 
fire destroys what is burns, 
therefore, the more intense it 
is, the shorter is it[s] dura- 
tion; but the fire in which the 
damned shall for ever be tor- 
mented, shall burn without 
ever consuming. . . . (12) 

Consider what strength this 
devouring fire will have, on 
account of the great quantity 
thereof. ... (12) [A] sea of 
fire, which has neither shore 
nor bottom. . . . {18) Who 
is there that can doubt, that if 
a whole mountain were thrown 
into this great furnace, but 
that it would melt as soon as 
a piece of wax? This the devil 
was forced to own, being asked 
by a soldier. . . . (12) . . . 
that flame, so fierce and so 
great, will not only afflict us 
without, as it happens with the 
fires of this world; but will 


A Portrait of the Artist 

But our earthly fire was created 
by God for the benefit of man, 
to maintain in him the spark 
of life and to help him in the 
useful arts whereas the fire of 
hell is of another quality and 
was created by God to torture 
and punish the unrepentant 
sinner. Our earthly fire also 
consumes more or less rapidly 
according as the object which 
it attacks is more (374) or 
less combustible. . . . But the 
sulphurous brimstone which 
burns in hell is a substance 
which is specially designed to 
burn for ever and for ever with 
unspeakable fury. Moreover 
our earthly fire destroys at the 
same time as it burns so that 
the more intense it is the 
shorter is its duration: but the 
fire of hell has this property 
that it preserves that which it 
burns and though it rages with 
incredible intensity it rages for 

— Our earthly fire again 
... is always of a limited ex- 
tent: but the lake of fire in 
hell is boundless, shoreless and 
bottomless. It is on record that 
the devil himself, when asked 
the question by a certain sol- 
dier, was obliged to confess 
that if a whole mountain were 
thrown into the burning ocean 
of hell it would be burned up 
in an instant like a piece of 
wax. And this terrible fire will 
not afflict the bodies of the 
damned only from without 

Joyce's Sermon on Hell 

Hell Opened to Christians 

penetrate our very bones, our 
marrow, and even the very 
principle of our life and being. 
. . . Every one that is damned 
will be like a lighted furnace, 
which has its own flames in 
itself; all that filthy blood will 
boil in the veins, the brains in 
the skull, the heart in the 
breast, the bowels within that 
unfortunate body, surrounded 
with an abyss of fire. . . . (13) 

Consider, that whatever has 
been said either as to the 
strength, the quality, or the 
quantity of this infernal fire, 
it is nothing in comparison to 
the intenseness it will have as 
being the instrument of the 
Divine Justice. . . . [I]t will 
have its rise from the foot of 
the throne of God, that is to 
say, it will receive an incredi- 
ble vigour from the omnipo- 
tency of God; working, not 
with its own activity, but, as 
an instrument, with the ac- 
tivity of its agent. . . . (13) 
... as God makes use of ma- 
terial water in baptism, not 
only to wash the body, but to 
cleanse and sanctify the soul, 
so in hell he makes use of fire, 
though material, to punish her 
when sinful and unclean. The 
infernal fire then is an effect 
of the omnipotency of God 
injured by sinners; it is a visi- 
ble sign of that infinite hatred 
which the divine goodness 
bears to sin, as also an inven- 
tion of his wisdom to recover 
the honour taken from him by 
the wicked. . . . (1^) 


A Portrait of the Artist 

but each lost soul will be a hell 
unto itself, the boundless fire 
raging in its very vitals. . . . 
The blood seethes and boils in 
the veins, the brains are boil- 
ing in the skull, the heart in 
the breast glowing and burst- 
ing, the bowels a redhot mass 
of burning pulp, the tender 
eyes flaming like molten balls. 
— And yet what I have said 
as to the strength and quality 
and boundlessness of this fire 
is as nothing when compared 
to its intensity, an intensity 
which it has as being the in- 
strument chosen by divine de- 
sign for the punishment of 
soul and body alike. It is a fire 
which proceeds directly from 
the ire of God, working not of 
its own activity but as an in- 
strument of divine vengeance. 

As the waters of baptism 
cleanse the soul with the body 
so do the fires of punishment 
torture the spirit with the 
flesh. (37^-7^) ' • ' arid . . . 
the immortal soul is tortured 
eternally . . . amid the . . . 
glowing fires kindled in the 
abyss by the offended majesty 
of the Omnipotent God and 
fanned into everlasting and 
ever increasing fury by the 
breath of the anger of the God- 


Hell Opened to Christians 

[Third Consideration: The 
Company of the Damned.] 
Consider, what great torment 
will be added to the infernal 
habitation by the inhabitants 
themselves. The being in ill 
company is so great a pain, 
that one would think the very 
plants on earth are sensible of 
it, whilst they withdraw them- 
selves, and fly from those that 
are noxious or hurtful to them. 
(i^) . . . all laws being over- 
turned [in hell], and all reason 
banished, there will be no re- 
gard to consanguinity, parent- 
age, country, or to any tie or 
motive which might mitigate 
their desperate rage against 
each other. . . . their very 
bowlings and groans will make 
them intolerable. (16) 

Consider, that the company 
of the accomplices in sin will 
be painful above all imagina- 
tion. . . . (17) Who can con- 
ceive the curses, blasphemies 
and execrations they will spit 
out . . . ? {18) The punish- 
ment assigned for parricides 
was to be shut up in a sack 
with a cock, a serpent, and a 
monkey, and so to be thrown 
into the sea: but how little do 
the lawgivers among men un- 
derstand what pain is! The 
divine justice has found out 
other sort of company where- 
with to punish criminals; a 
place full of executioners and 
condemned persons ... in 
the middle of a sea of fire. 
. . . (18) . . . those friends 
for whose sake you turned your 
backs on God, will be the 


A Portrait of the Artist 

— Consider finally that the 
torment of this infernal prison 
is increased by the company 
of the damned themselves. 
Evil company on earth is so 
noxious that the plants, as if 
by instinct, 

withdraw from the company of 
whatsoever is deadly or hurtful 
to them. In hell all laws are 
overturned — 

there is no thought of family 
or country, of ties, of relation- 
ships. ... All sense of hu- 
manity is forgotten. 
The yells of the suffering sin- 
ners fill the remotest corners 
of the vast abyss. The mouths 
of the damned are full of 
blasphemies against God and 
of hatred for their fellow suf- 
ferers and of curses against 
those souls which were their 
accomplices in sin. In olden 
times it was the custom to pun- 
ish the parricide ... by cast- 
ing him into the depths of the 
sea in a sack in which were 
placed a cock, a monkey and 
a serpent. . . . The intention 
of those lawgivers . . . was to 
punish the criminal. . . . But 
what is the (376) fury of those 
dumb beasts compared with 
the fury of execration which 
bursts from the parched lips 
. . . of the damned in hell 
when they behold . . . those 
who aided and abetted them 
in sin . . . those whose im- 
modest suggestions led them 
on to sin, 

Joyce's Sermon on Hell 

Hell Opened to Christians 

crudest furies ... no devil 
will torment you so much as 
the person you disordinately 
loved. . . . Those eyes which 
are now your stars, shall then 
send forth darts more piercing 
than the very lightning. (17- 


Consider, the company of 
the devils will prove far more 
tormenting than would be that 
of our greatest enemies. . . . 
They will afflict the damned 
two different ways, by their 
sight and by reproaches. {16) 
... St. Catherine of Sienna, 
speaking to our Saviour, said 
much more: 'That rather than 
behold again such a frightful 
infernal form, she would 
choose [to?] walk in a road all 
of fire to the day of judgment." 
According {16) to this, one of 
those monsters alone would be 
enough to make a hell of the 
place he is in. . . . But what 
will it be when reproaches and 
scorn are added to the sight 
of them? . . . Fool . . . who 
couldst so easily have saved 
thyself by restoring those ill- 
gotten goods, by breaking off 
that lewd practice, by one 
hearty sorrow, and thou 
wouldst not do it[:] why dost 
thou now complain? Thou 
wert thyself the occasion of 
thy misfortune, (ij) 

[Fourth Consideration: The 
Pain of Loss.] "I am cast away 
from the sight of thine eyes." 
Psalm XXX. 22 [sic]. . . .^^ 


A Portrait of the Artist 

those whose eyes tempted and 
allured them from the path of 
virtue. . . . 

— Last of all consider the 
frightful torment to those 
damned souls, tempters and 
tempted alike, of the company 
of the devils. These devils will 
afflict the damned in two ways, 
by their presence and by their 
reproaches. . . . Saint Cath- 
erine of Siena once saw a devil 
and she has written that, rath- 
er than look again for one 
single instant on such a fright- 
ful monster, she would prefer 
to walk until the end of her 
life along a track of red coals. 
These devils . . . have become 
as hideous and ugly as they 
once were beautiful. They 
mock and jeer at the lost souls 
whom they dragged down to 
ruin. . . . Why did you sin? 
. . . Why did you not give up 
that lewd habit, that impure 
habit? (377) You would not 
. . . restore those illgotten 
goods. . . . (378) Why did 
you not . . . repent of your 
evil ways and turn to God who 
only waited for your repent- 
ance to absolve you of your 
sins? (377) [Note. — Matt. 
25:41 (^'Depart from me, ye 
cursed . . ."), with which Fa- 
ther Arnall concludes his Fri- 
day-morning sermon, is quoted 
by Pinamonti on p. 22.] 

— I am cast away from the 
sight of Thine eyes: words 
taken, my dear little brothers 


Hell Opened to Christians 

For in sin there is a double 
malice: the first is the turning 
one's back on the uncreated 
good . . . ; the other is the 
fixing one's eyes on a created 
good as the chief object . . . 
of one's happiness. . . . Now 
the divine justice prepares a 
punishment in hell suitable to 
both these disorders, in punish- 
ing the conversion to the crea- 
ture . . . with the pain of 
sense . . . and . . . the aver- 
sion from God, with the pain 
(22) of loss. . . . (23) This 
pain [of loss] in substance is a 
hell of itself greater than all 
the rest; for, says St. Thomas, 
"The worst damnation con- 
sists in this, that the under- 
standing of man be totally de- 
prived of divine light, and his 
affection obstinately turned 
from the goodness of God." 
This pain, therefore, is infinite 
... if all the other pleasures 
of heaven were multiplied a 
thousand times over and over, 
they could never equal the joy 
the blessed have in beholding 
God face to face (20, 21). 
. . . Though in this life we 
have but a very obscure knowl- 
edge of the infinite happiness 
which consists in enjoying 
God; yet in hell the damned, 
for their greater torment, will 
have a most lively comprehen- 
sion of so great a good; and 
[know] that it is through their 
fault they have lost it. . . . 



A Portrait of the Artist 

in Christ, from the Book of 
Psalms, thirtieth chapter, 
twenty-third^^ verse. (381) 

— Sin, remember, is a two- 
fold enormity. It is a base con- 
sent to . . . the lower in- 
stincts, to that which is gross 
and beastlike; and it is also a 
turning away from the coun- 
sel of our higher nature . . . 
from the Holy God Himself. 
For this reason mortal sin is 
punished in hell by two dif- 
ferent forms of punishment, 
physical and spiritual. (382) 

Now of all these spiritual 
pains by far the greatest is the 
pain of loss, so great, in fact, 
that in itself it is a torment 
greater than all the others. 
Saint Thomas . . . says that 
the worst damnation consists 
in this that the understanding 
of man is totally deprived of 
divine light and his affection 
obstinately turned away from 
the goodness of God. God 
... is a being infinitely good 
and therefore the loss of such a 
being must be . . . infinitely 

In this life we have not a very 
clear idea of what such a loss 
must be 

but the damned in hell, for 
their greater torment, have a 
full understanding of that 
which they have lost and un- 
derstand that they have lost it 
through their own sins and 
have lost it for ever. At the 
very instant of death the bonds 

Joyce's Sermon on Hell 

Hell Opened to Christians 

In this life, the soul . . . con- 
tinues in [the body] as a fire 
under ashes, but breaking loose 
from the body is in a violent 
state, like fire lighted in [il- 
legible] ... so is a soul in 
endeavouring to get to her 
centre, which is God. (21-22) 
. . . It has sometimes hap- 
pened that a mother led into 
captivity and parting from her 
son . . . [has] fallen down 
dead . . . merely by the ex- 
cess of grief; what death will a 
soul feel then in parting with 
God for ever? (22) . . . God 
[is] . . . the centre of happi- 
ness to a rational mind . . . 
[and] to be violently separated 
from this object, and that for 
ever, must be a torment with- 
out its equal. . . . {22) 

[Fifth Consideration: The 
Sting of Conscience.] Con- 
sider, that as in dead bodies 
worms are engendered from 
putrefaction, so in the damned 
there arises a perpetual re- 
morse from the corruption of 
sin, which is called the sting of 
conscience. . . . {2^) 
This worm, more cruel than 
any asp, will make three 
wounds in the heart of every 
damned soul, which may be 
further illustrated to us by the 
word of Innocent III, in his 
book of the Contempt of the 
World: — 'The memory will 
afflict, late repentance will 
trouble, and want of time 
[i.e., neglect of good occa- 
sions] will torment." . . . 

A Portrait of the Artist 

of the flesh are broken asunder 
and the soul at once flies 
towards God as towards 

the centre of her existence. 

• • • (382) 

And if it be pain for a mother 
to be parted from her child. 
. . . O think what pain . . . 
it must be for the poor soul to 
be spurned from the presence 
of the supremely good and lov- 
ing Creator. . . . This, then, 
to be separated for ever from 
its greatest good, from God, 
and to feel the anguish of that 
separation, knowing full well 
that it is unchangeable, this is 
the greatest torment which 
the created soul is capable of 
bearing. . . . 

The second pain which will 
afflict the souls of the damned 
in hell is the pain of con- 
science. Just as in dead bodies 
worms are engendered by 
putrefaction so in the souls of 
the lost there arises a perpetual 
remorse from the putrefaction 
of sin, the sting of conscience, 
the worm, as Pope Innocent 
the Third calls it, of the triple 

The first sting inflicted 
by this cruel worm will be the 
memory of past pleasures. 


Hell Opened to Christians 

First of all then, the memory 
will afflict. It is a great torment 
to [the?] miserable wretch to 
remember his past happiness. 
. . . {26) He who once gave 
himself over to all sorts of 
pleasure; whose palate was 
filled with the greatest dainties; 
whose flesh had all the ease 
imaginable, and wallowed in 
all kinds of impurity, is now 
delivered up to everlasting 
lamentations, suffering, and 
despair. . . . {26) 
Judge what a misfortune it v^ll 
be, after a great number of 
years, to remember a forbid- 
den pleasure, a momentary de- 
light {26) vanished like a 
shadow, changed into an eter- 
nal torment. {2y) 

Consider, the second wound 
of this devouring worm will be 
a late and fruitless sorrow for 
sins committed. {2y) . . . di- 
vine justice will fix the under- 
standing of those miserable 
wretches, continually to think 
on the sin they have com- 
mitted. . . . {2y) St. Augus- 
tine . . . says moreover, that 
they will behold their abomi- 
nations as they are in them- 
selves, because God will im- 
part to them his own knowl- 
edge of sin, so that it will 
appear to them as it does to 
God, that is, an abyss of de- 
formity and malice. . . . And 
though they shall deplore their 
sins for ever, yet they shall 
never come to any composition 
with God. . . . {28) 

Consider, the third wound 
which this sting of conscience 


A Portrait of the Artist 

O what a dreadful memory 
will that be! . . .he who de- 
lighted in the pleasures of the 
table [will remember] his gor- 
geous feasts, his dishes pre- 
pared with such delicacy . . . 
(383) ... the impure and 
adulterous the unspeakable 
and filthy pleasures in which 
they delighted. . . . [They 
are] condemned to suffer in 
hell-fire for ages and ages. How 
they will rage and fume to 
think that they have lost the 
bliss of heaven for the dross of 
earth ... for bodily com- 
forts, for a tingling of the 

. . . the second sting of the 
worm of conscience [will be] a 
late and fruitless sorrow for 
sins committed. Divine justice 
insists that the understanding 
of those miserable wretches be 
fixed continually on the sins of 
which they were guilty and 
moreover, as Saint Augustine 
points out, 

God will impart to them His 
own knowledge of sin so that 
sin will appear to them in all 
its hideous malice as it appears 
to the eyes of God Himself. 
They will behold their sins in 
all their foulness and repent 
but it will be too late 

and then they will bewail the 
good occasions which they neg- 

Joyce's Sermon on Hell 

Hell Opened to Christians 

causes in the damned. It is an 
infinite grief for having neg- 
lected so many fair occasions 
of saving themselves. . . . 
{28) [This] will be the most 
cruel viper which will gnaw our 
hearts. . . . (29) Was I not 
told of it by my ghostly 
fathers? . . . Was I not as- 
sured by faith, that the end of 
sin was damnation? And I 
. . . would not open my eyes 
to my own good. . . . There 
was a time when God invited 
me by so many inspirations, 
entreated me by so many 
voices, allured me by so many 
promises, deterred me by so 
many threats. . . . Now . . . 
after having shed a sea of tears, 
I shall never compass what 
formerly I might have obtained 
with one only tear. . . . (29) 
[The thought of this] will 
make those unfortunate souls, 
with an hellish fury, to curse 
sometimes God, whom they 
hate, as their enemy: some- 
times the devils, whom they 
abhor as traitors: sometimes 
their companions who entice 
them to sin; and sometimes 
their ownselves, for having 
been so mad. . . . God, who 
was once so compassionate of 
my miseries . . . will now be- 
come inexorable. (29) 

[Sixth Consideration: Despair 
on account of the extension of 
the pains of hell.] Consider, 
that man in this life, though 
he be capable of many evils, 
he is not capable of them all 
at once; because here one evil 


A Portrait of the Artist 

lected. This is the last and 
deepest and most cruel sting of 
the worm of conscience. 

The conscience will say: . . . 
You had the sacraments and 
graces and indulgences of the 
church to aid you. You had the 
minister of God to preach to 
you ... if only you had . . . 
repented. No. You would not. 
. . . God appealed to you, 
threatened you, entreated you 
to return to Him. (384) . . . 
And now, though you were to 
flood all hell with your tears 
... all that sea of repentance 
would not gain for you what 
a single tear of true repentance 
shed during your mortal life 
would have gained for you. 
. . . [F]illed with hellish fury 
they curse themselves for their 
folly and curse the evil com- 
panions who have brought 
them to such ruin and curse 
the devils who tempted them 
in life and now mock them in 
eternity and even revile and 
curse the Supreme Being 
Whose goodness and patience 
they scorned . . . but Whose 
justice and power they cannot 

— The next spiritual pain to 
which the damned are sub- 
jected is the pain of extension. 
Man, in this earthly life, 
though he be capable of many 
evils, is not capable of them 
all at once inasmuch as one 


Hell Opened to Christians 

corrects the other, and one 
poison oftentimes drives out 
another, but in hell it will be 
quite otherwise; for pains 
there will lend each other a 
fresh sting. . . . (31) 
Moreover, what has been 
hitherto considered, was in 
relation to the external senses: 
but as the internal powers are 
more perfect, so they are more 
capable of pain, and therefore, 
will be the more tormented. 
... [As the damned] had 
made an ill use of all their 
senses and powers, to sin, so 
they deserved in every one of 
their senses and powers, to be 
punished with so many pains. 
. . . (32) The fancy will al- 
ways be afflicted with frightful 
imaginations. . . . The sensi- 
tive appetite will, like the ebb- 
ing and flowing of the sea, be 
continually swelling and fall- 
ing . . . into rage and an- 
guish. . . . Their understand- 
ing will be filled with interior 
darkness, more terrible than 
the exterior, which fills their 
prison. . . . (32) 
There [sic] will be obstinate 
in malice, without being able, 
during the whole space of 
eternal years, to have the least 
inclination to good, but con- 
tinually adding malice to mal- 
ice. ... (32) 

. . . [Hell] is the centre of all 
evils: and as all things are 
found to be much stronger in 
their centre than elsewhere 
... so the evils that are in 
hell will not only be many 
without number, but intense 
without comparison, and pure, 


A Portrait of the Artist 

evil corrects and counteracts 
another, just as one poison fre- 
quently corrects another. In 
hell, on the contrary, one tor- 
ment instead of counteracting 
another, lends it still greater 

and, moreover, as the internal 
faculties are more perfect than 
the external senses, so are they 
more capable of suffering. 

Just as every sense is afflicted 
with a fitting torment so is 
every spiritual faculty; 

the fancy with horrible images, 
the sensitive faculty with alter- 
nate longing and rage. 

the mind and understanding 
with an interior darkness more 
terrible even than the exterior 
darkness which reigns in that 
dreadful prison. The malice, 
impotent though it be, which 
possesses these demon souls is 
an evil of boundless extension, 
of limitless duration. . . . 


. . . Hell is the centre of evils 
and, as you know, things are 
more intense at their centres 
than at their remotest points. 
There are no contraries or ad- 
mixtures of any kind to temper 
or soften in the least the pains 
of hell. 


Joyce's Sermon on Hell 
Hell Opened to Christians 

without mixture. Pains in this 
place will have no contraries 
to temper and soften them. 
. . . (33) Moreover, things 
that are otherwise good in 
themselves, in this place be- 
come bad. Company, which 
elsewhere is a comfort to the 
afflicted, will here be their 
greatest trouble; the light 
which in other places is so 
much coveted, will be hated 
here, more than darkness itself; 
knowledge, which in this 
world does so much delight 
(33), will be there more tor- 
menting than ignorance. . . . 
In this present life our sorrows 
are either not long or not 
great, because nature either 
overcomes them by habits, or 
puts an end to them by falling 
herself under the weight . . . 
[b]ut in hell the rules are quite 
contrary, for the pains there 
will always continue in the 
same state; intolerable as to in- 
tenseness, and endless as to 
duration: ... As there is 
nothing moderate in the tor- 
ments, so there is no rest in 
the tormented, who are con- 
tinually kept, not barely alive, 
but in their full senses, to have 
greater feeling of their misery. 
... It is what the divine 
Majesty, injured by sinners, re- 
quires: it is what the blood of 
Christ, that is trampled upon, 
demands: it is what heaven it- 
self, despised and postponed 
to filth and corruption, insists 
on. (34) 

[Seventh Consideration: The 
Eternity of Pain.] . . . O eter- 
nity, then, O eternity! (39) 


A Portrait of the Artist 

Nay, things which are good in 
themselves become evil in 
hell. Company, elsewhere a 
source of comfort to the af- 
flicted, will be there a con- 
tinual torment: knowledge, so 
much longed for as the chief 
good of the intellect, will there 
be hated worse than ignorance: 
light, so much coveted by all 
creatures . . . will be loathed 
intensely. In this life our sor- 
rows are either not very long 
or not very great because na- 
ture either overcomes them by 
habits or puts an end to them 
by sinking under their weight. 
But in hell the torments can- 
not be overcome by habit, for 
while they are of terrible in- 
tensity they are at the same 
time of continual variety. . . . 
Nor can nature escape from 
these . . . tortures by suc- 
cumbing to them for the soul 
is sustained and maintained in 
evil so that its suffering may 
be the greater. . . . 

. . . this is what the divine 
majesty, so outraged by sin- 
ners, demands, this is what the 
holiness of heaven, slighted 
and set aside for the lustful 
and low pleasures of the cor- 
rupt flesh, requires, this is 
what the blood of the in- 
nocent Lamb of God . . . 
trampled upon by the vilest of 
the vile, insists upon. (3S6) 
. . . Eternity! O, dread and 
dire word. Eternity! {^Sy) 


Hell Opened to Christians 

Consider, that were the pains 
of hell less racking, yet, being 
never to have an end, they 
would become infinite. What 
then will it be, they being 
both intolerable as to sharp- 
ness, and endless as to dura- 
tion? (38) . . . were it pro- 
posed to the damned to suffer 
either by the sting of a bee in 
their eye for a whole eternity, 
or to undergo all the torments 
of hell for as many ages as 
there are (38) stars in heaven, 
they would . . . choose to be 
thus miserable for so many 
ages, and then to see an end 
of their misery than to endure 
a pain so much less, that was 
to have no end. (39) . . . Let 
us go on, and imagine ... a 
mountain of this small sand 
[as in an hourglass], so high 
as would reach from earth to 
heaven. . . . Let us then im- 
agine this great mountain to 
be multiplied as often as there 
are sands in the sea, leaves on 
trees, feathers on birds, scales 
on fish, hairs on beasts, atoms 
in the air, drops of water that 
have rained or will rain to the 
day of judgment . . . fa]nd 
yet . . . we are assured by 
faith . . . that all these years 
shall pass, and when over, none 
of our pains will be lessened, 
nor so much as one instant 
taken from eternity. (39) . . . 
eternity expects thee in a place 
of torment, always the same, 
with the same pains. (40) 
... So that we may say, that 
eternity not only every mo- 
ment tortures the damned, but 


A Portrait of the Artist 

Even though the pains of hell 
were not so terrible as they are 
yet they would become infinite 
as they are destined to last for 
ever. But while they are ever- 
lasting they are at the same 
time . . . intolerably intense, 
unbearably extensive. 

To bear even the sting of an 
insect for all eternity would be 
a dreadful torment. What 
must it be, then, to bear the 
manifold tortures of hell for 
ever? . . . 

You have often seen the sand 
on the seashore. . . . Now 
imagine a mountain of that 
sand, a million miles high, 
reaching from the earth to 
the farthest heavens . . . and 
imagine such an enormous 
mass of countless particles of 
sand multiplied as often as 
there are leaves in the forest, 
drops of water in the mighty 
ocean, feathers on birds, scales 
on fish, hairs on animals, 
atoms in the vast expanse of 
the air: . . . Yet at the end 
of that immense stretch of 
time not even one instant of 
eternity could be said to have 
ended. (387) 

... An eternity of endless 
agony . . . without one ray 
of hope, without one moment 
of cessation . . . (388) . . . 
an eternity, every instant of 
which is itself an eternity of 
woe. (389) 


A Portrait of the Artist 

. . . Men, reasoning always 
as men, are astonished that 
God should mete out an ever- 
lasting and infinite punish- 
ment in the fires of hell for a 
single grievous sin. They rea- 
son thus because, blinded by 
the gross illusion of the flesh 
and the darkness of human un- 
derstanding they are unable to 
comprehend the hideous mal- 
ice of mortal sin. . . . 

Joyce's Sermon on Hell 

Hell Opened to Christians 

that to the damned every mo- 
ment is turned into so many 
eternities, {^i) 

Consider, that men reason- 
ing always as men, are aston- 
ished that God, for so short 
a pleasure of a sinner, should 
have decreed an everlasting 
punishment in the fire of hell. 
. . . But ought not we rather 
to wonder at the astonishment 
of worldlings, grounded on the 
ignorance of spiritual things 
[?] "The sensual man per- 
ceiveth not the things that are 
of the spirit of God. . . ." — 
I Cor. ii. 14. If sinners did but 
comprehend the malice of 
their sin, they would soon 
change their wonder. . . . 
{^1) Consider . . . that every 
mortal sin is either a tacit or ex- 
press contempt of the divine 
will, and an injury to God 
... in a manner infinite. 
. . . (^1-^2) . . . if the pain 
due to the offenders of God 
were to end, both the judge 
and the sentence would be 
condemned . . . the malice of 
sin is so exorbitant as not to 
be atoned and satisfied for, by 
the good works of all creatures; 
and, therefore, to pay this 
debt, it was necessary the Son 
of God should take from his 
veins, as a just price, the treas- 
ures of his divine blood. (42) 

This extensive listing of passages has seemed necessary in 
order to make it clear that when I call Hell Opened to 
Christians the primary source of Joyce's sermon on hell I 
am not basing my judgment on mere analogies, random 
parallels, or echoes but on actual correspondences, following 

... sin ... is a transgres- 
sion of His law and God would 
not be God if He did not pun- 
ish the transgressor. 

. . . To retrieve the conse- 
quences of that sin [Adam's 
and Eve's] the Only Begotten 
Son of God . . . lived and 
suffered and died a most pain- 
ful death. ... (389) 


in the same sequence and often expressed in the same words, 
and so conspicuous as to be undeniable. I do not mean that 
Joyce simply parroted Pinamonti, even in the most similar 
passages. But the fact remains that much of the famous 
sermon on hell (recently elevated to textbook rank) was 

Three questions should now be considered: the relation of 
both works to their parent tradition; Joyce's adaptation of his 
source; and the theological milieu through which Pinamonti's 
tract probably came to Joyce's attention. 

Discussion of the first of these will reveal another and 
important reason why an unmistakable relationship between 
the two works can be demonstrated only through side-by-side 
comparison. The melodramatic impressiveness of both in- 
clines a reader to ascribe more originality and singularity to 
them than either author would have claimed. The truth is 
that much of their content has indeed been ''the common 
possession of devotional writers for hundreds of years/' ^^ 
and far more so than has been pointed out. For instance, in 
Consideration 26 of the manual Preparation for Death, St. 
Alphonsus Liguori, founder of the Redemptorists and author 
of the "old neglected book" of Stephen's devotions, writes 
that the smoke of the ''utterly dark" fire of hell will form 
"a storm of darkness" to torment the damned; that, accord- 
ing to St. Bonaventure, the stench of one of their bodies 
would kill all on earth; that the pain of earthly fire, "created 
for our use," cannot be compared with that of hellfire, "made 
. . . purposely to torment the damned," each of whom "shall 
be in himself a furnace of fire" — the blood in the veins, 
even the marrow of the bones. Yet these are as nothing be- 
side the infinite pain of losing "God, who is an infinite good." 
Unaided human reason may question the justice of punish- 
ing a moment's sin with an eternity of pain; but sin's infinite 
offense merits no less. And, since the creature "is not capable 
of suffering pain infinite in . . . intensity, God inflicts pun- 
ishment infinite in extension." ^^ These and many other pas- 
sages echo Arnall's words so closely that anyone unacquainted 

Joyce's Sermon on Hell 53 

with Hell Opened to Christians could plausibly suggest this 
section of Preparation for Death as their source. And Liguori 
is but one of many who have written of hell in a similar 
vein over a period spanning centuries. 

Professor Rogers holds that, Gibbon and popular opinion 
notwithstanding, detailed pictures of hell torments are at 
most a minor element in Christian writings of the early cen- 
turies; and E. B. Pusey's catena of patristic opinion, although 
part of a book designed to prove the universality of belief 
in everlasting punishment, on the whole supports this view.^^ 
Luridly detailed portrayals of horrors, though stemming from 
earlier apocryphal writings, are the work of monks and friars 
of the later Middle Ages.^* Still, although the church has 
never pronounced on the matter, from earliest times writers 
have located hell within the earth as the place farthest from 
God and fittest to sustain heat and the darkness that, as 
Aquinas says, the thick cloudy fire and the massed bodies of 
the damned will produce.^^ Agreeing that mortal sin merits 
no less than an eternity of torment, ancients and moderns, 
Protestants as well as Catholics, have drawn vividly the pains 
of the fire that burns corporeally forever without consuming. 
Tertullian's overly familiar passage imagines the proud kings, 
poets, and tragedians dissolving in the lake of brimstone; 
Gregory the Great warns readers that a certain dissolute 
monk's vision of the faggots prepared to burn him was but 
a type of hellfire's torments, adapted to our limited under- 
standings; one Drithelm, according to Bede, saw the souls 
of the damned in globes of black fire, rising and sinking like 
sparks; Jonathan Edwards exhorts those hardened in sin to 
imagine passing even a quarter-hour in a glowing furnace.^^ 
And yet, as in Arnall or Pinamonti, such pains ''are nothing 
in comparison with the loss of God." ^^ The lost, says the 
seventeenth-century Jesuit Lessius (Leys), feel this infinite 
loss eternally without the slightest mitigation; Aquinas holds 
that they can will only evil, envying the blessed and hating 
God himself for their pangs.^^ 

Even a cursory account like the foregoing will demonstrate 


that, even if Pinamonti had never written, the sermon on 
hell still could not have sprung spontaneously from Joyce's 
brain. A glance over the more immediate ancestry of both 
works will make this still clearer. Sullivan holds that the 
similar images in passages of the sermon and of the Sodality 
Manual indicate a ''more than incidental connection" be- 
tween them. Yet identical images occur in many writers, 
especially in the Jesuit scholars and preachers of seventeenth- 
century Europe. In a widely imitated section of his De per- 
fectionibus moribusque divinis (1620) the gifted Flemish 
Jesuit Leonard Lessius holds, like Liguori, that, in the lake 
of brimstone twenty thousand feet wide, fires will rage within 
the body, bowels, and bones of the damned.^^ Contempla- 
tions of the State of Man (1684), an Enghsh work once 
attributed to Jeremy Taylor, frequently urges the torment 
of bearing forever even a slight pain (the scorching of a 
finger, an insect's sting, a pinprick), let alone those of hell,^^ 
as in ArnalFs sermon, the Manual, and a score of other 
works. The probable source of the Contemplations is the 
treatise On the Difference between the Temporal and the 
Eternal {ca. 1640). Here the Spanish Jesuit J. E.Nieremberg 
describes the stench of the damned (one of the eight pains 
of hell) in terms markedly similar to Pinamonti's and Joyce's, 
even to citing the authority of St. Bonaventure.^^ 'The 
Egyptians," says the esteemed Catholic scholar, Bishop Chal- 
loner, "were in a sad condition when, for three days, the 
whole kingdom was covered with a dreadful darkness"; yet, 
unlike them, the damned in hell shall never see morning but 
shall ever endure "the intolerable stench of those half-putri- 
fied carcases which are broiling there." ^^ 

Another of Father Arnall's hyperboles that appears in the 
Manual seeks to convey the vastness of eternity by means 
of a mountain of fine sand, carried away by a bird at the rate 
of a grain every million years, and then successively rising 
and falling as often as there are stars in heaven, leaves on 
trees, etc. — at the end of which inconceivable period, eter- 

Joyce's Sermon on Hell 55 

nity will not even have begun. Striking though this image is, 
its inclusion in any Catholic book of devotion proves nothing 
at all: it is virtually a literary convention in such v^orks. Who, 
asks Farrar in 1877, has not heard sermons ''to the effect 
that if every leaf of the forest trees, and every grain of the 
ocean sands stood for billions of years, and all these billions 
were exhausted, you would still be no nearer even to the 
beginning of eternity than at the first . . /'? ^^ Farrar does 
not stay for an answer; however. Father G. B. Manni, still 
another Jesuit of the seventeenth century, writes that so 
many ages ''as there are stars in heaven, drops of water in 
the sea, and motes in the air, and particles of dust in the 
earth" would not make up eternity. Let all the space between 
earth and heaven, he continues, be filled with fine sand, and 
every one hundred thousand million [sic] ages let an angel 
carry away a single grain. Could the damned believe that 
after this their torments would end, they would rejoice.^* 
Liguori agrees, however, that this cannot be, even after so 
many ages as there are grains of sand in the sea or leaves 
on the trees, and Nieremberg conveys this stern denial in 
almost identical terms: "cuantos hojas hay en los campos, 
cuantos granos de arena hay en la tierra," etc.^^ Along with 
the familiar mountain of sand (angelically reduced at the 
relatively rapid pace of a grain a year), Jeremias Drexel, S.J., 
imagines a strip of parchment girdling the earth, closely in- 
scribed with small figure 9's. "And yet this [figure] is nothing 
to Eternity J' ^e 'pi^g ]^[^f^ j-j^^^ carries off grains of sand in 
Father Arnall's illustration may be found in Heinrich Suso 
(or Seuse), the saintly Dominican mystic of the fourteenth 
century: if there were a millstone thick as earth and broad 
as all heaven, and "if there came a little bird every hundred 
thousand years, and took from the stone as much as the tenth 
part of a grain of millet," the lost would wish nothing more 
than that their torments might end with the stone — and 
yet this cannot be.^^ 
There is no need of more examples to prove that, although 


Joyce is specifically indebted to Pinamonti, his model is in 
turn part of a literary and religious tradition so extensive and 
widely diffused that no distinct indebtedness on Pinamonti's 
side (save to his fellov^ Jesuit preachers) seems demonstrable. 
For the same reasons it seems equally clear that any effort to 
specify the Portrait sermon's sources on the basis of isolated 
resemblances in expression or imagery will fail through the 
very abundance of such parallels. Only a work whose organi- 
zation, scale, and proportion also clearly correspond to Joyce's 
can even be considered as a primary source, and to my knowl- 
edge all of these requirements are met conclusively only by 
Hell Opened to Christians. 

Since not only the themes of the Portrait sermon but even 
its modes of expression occur so frequently in Catholic de- 
votional writing, especially in the work of Jesuits, it is hard 
fully to understand Father Noon's objection that the ''purely 
negative and harrowing sermon ... is neither Catholic nor 
Ignatian." ^s Jt js true, of course, that, unlike the writings 
of Suso or Liguori, Arnall's sermon and Pinamonti's tract 
do not lead the reader beyond threats of punishment to con- 
siderations of the divine love and mercy; their sole purpose 
is, in the latter's words, "to fright us into our duty" (Hell 
Opened, p. 35). But can their teaching be called not "char- 
acteristic" solely because it is partial, incomplete? Before the 
great Dominican Luis de Granada, surely an unexceptionable 
authority, goes on to speak of hell as "a dark and obscure 
lake under the earth, ... in which is heard only the groan- 
ing ... of the tormentors and the tormented," he points 
out that meditations on hell are profitable in moving us to 
do penance and in making us fear God and hate sin.^^ That 
is, fear of the Lord in itself is not wisdom, but it is the 
indispensable prelude to wisdom. And the hterature of re- 
ligious fear is by no means confined to the Middle Ages or 
the Counter-Reformation. As will be shown further on, at 
least one picture of hellfire as lurid as Arnall's or Pinamonti's, 
written by a Redemptorist father and printed permissu su- 

Joyce's Sermon on Hell 57 

perioruniy was widely circulated in the late nineteenth cen- 
tury, arousing the indignation of liberals, the annoyance of 
some Catholics, and — perhaps — the interest of James Joyce. 
Pinamonti, of course, could not have dreamed of claiming 
uniqueness for his book, and to recognize Joyce's depend- 
ence on a source is not to deny the originality of the retreat 
episode. ArnalFs explanation of the word ''retreat" {Portrait, 
pp. ^61-6^) has no counterpart in the Italian's book, nor has 
the synopsis of the next day's sermon on death and judg- 
ment (pp. 364-68) or the exposition of the scheme of re- 
demption that precedes the sermon on hell and the exhor- 
tations that conclude each half. Anyone looking for parallel 
descriptions of death and burial or of the souls thronging to 
judgment will find them readily enough,^<* but this is a point- 
less labor in the case of a writer educated by priests. And, for 
the most part, what Joyce has taken from his model he has 
made his own. The close punctuation, the inept, sometimes 
obscure syntax of the original become clear and swift; archaic 
or technical terms beyond schoolboys' range are dropped or 
substituted; even an ambiguous pronoun reference (in St. 
Augustine's opinion that the lost will behold sin as God does) 
is corrected. Participial constructions and excessive periodic- 
ity are replaced by full predication and more colloquial sen- 
tence structure, yet at the same time the sermonistic parallel- 
ism, balance, and suspensions of the original are made more 
striking. And Joyce does not always copy his model's order, 
scale, and emphasis in detail, even in the morning sermon. 
His taunting devils are far more explicit and display a moral 
fastidiousness unknown to Pinamonti's. His elaboration upon 
the reek of the ''jellylike mass of hquid corruption" is matched 
or surpassed elsewhere, but not in his model's relatively 
squeamish analysis of hell's stench. The lack of any miti- 
gating reference to heaven and the divine love by Arnall is 
not truly Ignatian. But when Father Arnall warns against 
yielding to the promptings of corrupt nature in place of 
"fixing one's eyes on a created good," and when he greatly 


simplifies Pinamonti's logical demonstration that infinite pun- 
ishment is justified by the infinite enormity of sin, his prac- 
tice accords with the Ignatian precept that devotions should 
be adapted to the condition of the exercitant. For the same 
reason he gives carnal sins added emphasis before his adoles- 
cent hearers and presents the lost souls' reviling of God as 
the culmination of maHce (Portrait, p. ^8^) instead of merely 
ranking it with other expressions of their rage. Obviously the 
third point of Pinamonti's sixth consideration — the despair 
of the damned on comparing their lot with that of the saints 
— is so unsuited to Joyce's dramatic purpose that it becomes 
the only point omitted altogether. It bluntly asserts the an- 
cient and widely held belief that "God and his saints rejoice" 
at the pangs of the damned as a sign of divine justice fulfilled. 
Since even Aquinas experienced difficulties in justifying this 
idea,^^ it would be absurd to have Arnall expound it before 
boys insufficiently steeled in the school of doublethink to 
reconcile it with their preacher's concluding words on the 
divine love. 

Considered as a whole, Joyce's version emerges less as an 
abridgment than as a synopsis or precis, tersely setting forth 
under seven points what Pinamonti develops leisurely under 
twenty-one with more-than-ample exempla, analogies, cited 
authorities, synonymous repetitions, and overwhelming ques- 
tions. Joyce keeps all these devices, especially repetition, but 
his judiciously sparing use of them invariably heightens the 
desired effect rather than diffusing it by excess. To convey 
the vastness of hellfire, Pinamonti employs a (relatively) 
tame picture of sinners burning from within and a story 
(told by St. Caesarius) concerning the devil's admission to 
a certain soldier, both buttressed by the analogy of an un- 
vented oven and the authorities of Chrysostom, Isaiah, Job, 
and the Second (sic for A.V. Eighty-third) Psalm. Joyce, by 
repeating and particularizing words and images, tautens the 
passage into the epitome of fiery terror, tempered just enough 
by the bathos of the devil's fusible mountain, and prunes 

Joyce's Sermon on Hell 59 

away all else. Conversely, Arnall's reiteration that God can- 
not let pass one venial sin, even if doing so would end all the 
world's misery, seems to be the development of what Pina- 
monti only adumbrates {Hell Opened, pp. 41-42), although 
it is probably reinforced by memories of an 1897 Lenten 
retreat sermon by a Father Jeffcoat which, says his brother, 
aroused in Joyce a ''brain-storm of terror and remorse." ^^ 
But, if we cannot always see the rationale of Joyce's selections 
from his source, it is at least clear why many exempla are 
omitted. By the principle of anticipation the boys might 
feel the hellishness of living with a scolding wife (Company 
of the Damned, Hell Opened, pp. i^, ly), but probably not 
the sense for the apposite gesture that prompted a deceived 
husband to lock up his wife with the decaying corpse of her 
lover (Sorrow for Sins Committed, pp. 2y-28). It would be 
tactless of Arnall to take for granted his hearers' familiarity 
with a losing gambler's rages, as Pinamonti does (Company 
of the Devils, p. ij). And theatregoers too restless to endure 
a play without comic entr'actes (Unchangeableness of Pain, 
p. 40) would be as far beyond the college boys' experience 
as the "noble lord," perhaps of contemporary Italy, who 
tosses on his bed of down, foaming and cursing, when pinched 
with the colic (Intenseness of the Pains of Hell, p. 34). 

There remains the interesting question of how Joyce came 
by Pinamonti's obscure tract. Any answer to this will neces- 
sarily be conjectural in part, but clues in Joyce's second novel, 
seen in relation to the movement in nineteenth-century re- 
ligious thought to which they allude, provide a larger factual 
basis than those underlying several current articles of faith 
about Joyce. Joyce may, of course, have found his copy dur- 
ing rambles like those of Stephen Daedalus among the Dublin 
bookstalls "which offered old directories and volumes of ser- 
mons and unheard-of treatises ... at ... a penny each or 
three for twopence" {Stephen Hero, p. 1^^; cf. Ulysses, p. 
239). It is now known that when he arrived at Zurich in 
October, 1904, Joyce was at work on the eleventh chapter of 


Stephen Hero, set at Belvedere College, and that he had 
completed the preceding ten chapters, not merely the lone 
first chapter and notes which Gorman mentions, well before 
his departure from Dublin earlier that year. Since it is there- 
fore likely that the retreat episode alluded to in the surviving 
portion {Stephen Hero, pp. S^SV) ^^s already written, there 
is no need to conjecture how Joyce managed to acquire Hell 
Opened while he was abroad. But to assume that he simply 
came across Pinamonti's tract in some Josh Strong's book- 
shop is to beg the important question of why and how he 
singled out this work, so perfectly suited to his needs, from 
the scores of similar books, tracts, and sermons that crowded 
Dublin bookstalls. It is unlikely that J. F. Byrne, who remem- 
bers Hell Opened, read the tract or called Joyce's attention 
to it; had he done either, he would at least have pointed 
out the indebtedness. It is far more probable that Joyce de- 
liberately sought out the tract because he knew he could put 
it to use and that he knew this because he was acquainted, 
even famihar, with the discussion of doctrines concerning 
hell carried on in England and Europe during the later nine- 
teenth century. As I will show, it would have been as hard 
for a serious undergraduate of the i88o's to remain ignorant 
of the eternal punishment question, of the larger hope that 
many devout persons wished to trust less faintly, as it would 
have been for an Oxford student of the 1840's not to hear of 
the apostolic claims of the Church of England. And in the 
Wandering Rocks episode of Ulysses, probably written early 
in 1919, there are clear indications that Joyce had heard of 
it. ''That book by the Belgian Jesuit, Le Nombre des Elus" 
(Ulysses, p. 220), on which Father Conmee muses approv- 
ingly, is Le Rigorisme, la doctrine du salut et la question du 
nombre des elus (Brussels, 1899) by the distinguished Lou- 
vain professor, Auguste Castelein, S.J. It argues, like other 
books published closer to Joyce's home, against the belief 
prevalent during the Middle Ages and sustained well into 
the modern era by Cornelius a Lapide (Portrait, p. 503), 
Massillon, and others that the damned incalculably out- 

Joyce's Sermon on Hell 61 

number the saved or even those in purgatory .^^ It does not 
matter whether Joyce read this scarce book, which found 
much Cathohc approval despite a scathing attack on its 
hberahsm by the Redemptorist F. X. Godts. What matters 
is that only one more than casually acquainted with the 
question of eternal punishment and its ancillary issues could 
have known of the work's existence or of its message's dra- 
matic appropriateness to the thoughts of Conmee, at his 
ease in both worlds. And when in the same episode Haines 
confidently imputes to Stephen an idee fixe related to eternal 
punishment, it may be more than the piece of aesthetic-tea 
chatter it appears. As will be seen, Stephen's reported per- 
plexity on finding "no trace of hell in ancient Irish [Hebrew?] 
myth" can be taken, and may have been designed, as an 
irreverent capsule parody of the exegeses by, say, F. W. Farrar 
or E. H. Plumptre. I believe, in fact, that Buck Mulhgan's 
diagnosis of Stephen (''they drove his wits astray ... by 
visions of hell") contains more substance than one expects 
from this spirit that denies. The Portrait Stephen's half- 
formed vision of a priestly vocation dissolves before the 
threatened loss of his freedom — a consideration weakened 
by its anticlimactic juxtaposition with his sudden awareness 
of overtones of effeminacy in the priesthood and of his dis- 
like of early rising. And the sight of hell vanishes, leaving 
not a rack behind. But the earlier Stephen-in-revolt exclaimed 
as strongly as John Stuart Mill against "obscene, stinking 
hells" and a millennium of "fried atheists" {Stephen HerOy 
p. 232), and the creator of both Stephens reverted mockingly 
to the topic in one of his few epistolary references to Dedalus, 
over a decade later.^* I do not propose to add another shelf 
of books to the Alexandrian library that Joyce is already 
alleged to have assimilated in some twenty years, but I be- 
lieve that there are enough clear indications in his works to 
warrant an examination of certain phases of the eternal pun- 
ishment question that may have led him to Hell Opened to 
Christians and to larger considerations as well. 
The movement in Protestant theology toward subjectivity 


and humanism during the later nineteenth century was pri- 
marily a sympathetic response to the increasing dominance 
of humanitarian secularism and scientific — especially evolu- 
tionary — modes of thought, despite the unquestionable im- 
portance of Schleiermacher, Coleridge, and F. D. Maurice. 
It is impossible even to outline that movement here (much 
less Cathohc reaction to it); but, during its course, such 
liberal and philanthropic Anglicans as A. P. Stanley and 
Charles Kingsley, like the freethinkers and rationalists they 
opposed, increasingly found it as repugnant to believe in an 
afterlife of eternal physical and spiritual torment for a huge 
majority of the human race ^^ as to accept a purely substi- 
tutionary theory of the Atonement or Moses' authorship of 
the Pentateuch. Those who attacked eternal punishment did 
not form a concerted movement, and no one of them is en- 
tirely typical. Their opponents, Catholics especially, lumped 
them all as Universalists, although Anglicans like Farrar and 
Plumptre repudiated this eschatology, which is at least as old 
as Origen. But learned and articulate Universalists like 
Andrew Jukes played a strong part in the movement, and 
Farrar's position especially is often difficult to discriminate 
from theirs. All these writers affirm the punishment of sin, 
although they find it to consist primarily in the pain of loss 
rather than that of sense; but they deny that such punish- 
ment is purely retributive, as Pinamonti represents it. (Joyce's 
Stephen found no sense of retribution beyond the grave in 
''Irish myth" [Ulysses, p. 2^^].) Instead, they affirm on the 
basis of Scripture and inner conviction that the majority of 
souls — not all — enter the future with the same capacities 
for repentance, growth, and education that they had in life.^^ 
On philological grounds they reject the mistranslations and 
accreted meanings of ''hell," "damnation," and "eternal." 

Such attacks increased noticeably in the years following 
Essays and Reviews, a volume pervaded with similar ideas 
on continuing spiritual growth in the lives of men and na- 
tions. An adequate account would deal with F. W. Robert- 

Joyce's Sermon on Hell 63 

son, Erskine of Linlathen, A. R. Symonds, and others as well; 
but in terms of popular impact the names of F. D. Maurice 
and F. W. Farrar lead all the rest. In his Theological Essays 
of 1853, which cost him his professorship, Maurice held that 
the punishment of evil, though retributive, may also be 
reformatory, and he denounced all dogmatic playing with 
Scripture texts. To know the infinite love of God as mani- 
fested in Christ is eternal life, while eternal punishment is 
the being without this knowledge.^^ A direct and influential 
(again, upon the general public) consequence of this book 
involved the career of John William Colenso, future penta- 
teuchal critic. The Low Church Record's noisy opposition to 
his consecration as missionary bishop of Natal, following his 
dedicating a volume of sermons to Maurice,^^ did not suc- 
ceed. However, Colenso's continuing reflections on the doc- 
trine of eternal punishment led him to reprehend it in 1855 
from the viewpoint of a working missionary (in vigorous 
terms that Father Conmee's comfortable musings travesty) 
and to renounce it altogether, on exegetical grounds, five 
years later.^^ Hence, after the appearance of The Pentateuch 
and Book of Joshua Critically Examined (1862 ff.) and 
Colenso's testimony at his subsequent trial, several reviewers 
found a relation between the later book's enormities and the 
Bishop's earlier doctrinal unsoundness.^^ If Colenso's and 
H. B. Wilson's (of Essays and Reviews) trials for heresy 
were indirect consequences of Maurice's teaching, their ac- 
quittals in turn were a major influence on the closing of 
ranks that took place among religionists in the following 
years. In its decision reversing the 1862 verdict of the Court 
of Arches condemning Wilson and another essayist, the 
Judicial Committee of the Privy Council had decided that 
the expression of a hope that the punishment of sinners 
might be terminable did not contradict the teaching of the 
Church of England. Protestants of several factions and — to 
some extent — Anglo- and Roman Catholics as well were 
now almost under the necessity of committing themselves 


for or against the new ideas. Most conservatives aligned 
themselves against all "neologisms/' even forming at times 
an uneasy united front. For instance, in 1864, while memories 
of Wilson's and Colenso's acquittals were still fresh, the 
scholarly Tractarian leader E. B. Pusey in an Oxford sermon 
described the company of the damned in terms that echo the 
murky early jeremiads of C. H. Spurgeon, the popular evan- 
gelist—between whose ilk and Pusey's, relations were ordi- 
narily on a Sweeney-Eliot footing: "fierce, fiery eyes of hate 
ever fixed on thee . . . sleepless in their horrible gaze; hear 
those yells of blaspheming concentrated hate, as they echo 
along the lurid vault of hell." *^ Maurice had held the essence 
of eternal punishment to consist in the pain of loss, which 
Pusey stresses in this sermon, giving only a phrase to the 
torments of sense. Yet even these excerpts show plainly how 
little mitigation was afforded by the substitution of spiritual 
pains for corporeal ones. Despite Lecky's claim that pictures 
of torment had nearly vanished from theological writing by 
the i86o's,*2 orthodox representations of infernal tortures in 
various forms persisted well into Joyce's college years. 

Dean Farrar's once-famous sermons on Eternal Hope, 
preached late in 1877 ^^ Westminster Abbey, added little 
doctrinally to the positions taken by Maurice (and, it may 
be added, Tennyson) and developed by others; their impor- 
tance to us lies in the astonishingly wide public interest that 
they and Pusey's reply to them created. This holds true of 
Catholic writers as well, as is shown by the number of articles 
on Farrar's subjects that appeared in Romanist periodicals in 
the next two decades. Such writers could make no conces- 
sions to Universalism, but at the same time many showed 
that they were not indifferent to the tensions produced by 
medieval conceptions of hell in a scientific and humanitarian 
age. In words that might have come from Eternal Hope, 
an article of 1882 urged that heaven and hell be regarded 
as not primarily "places but states" — of eternal union with 
God or of lasting hostihty toward him.^^ During Joyce's 

Joyce's Sermon on Hell 65 

second year in college, an Irish Jesuit published a book, pos- 
sibly modeled after Father Castelein's, with the object of 
proving that the saved outnumber the lost, contrary to the 
upholders of ''severe opinions." ^* (This is not to imply that 
anything like a wave of liberal sentiment swept over British 
Catholicism but only to indicate that concern with the ques- 
tion was not confined to Protestants.) Although thoughtful 
Catholics might find ironical amusement in the near-ap- 
proaches of some trusters in the larger hope to the reprobated 
Romish doctrine of purgatory, they also recognized that the 
bandying-about of unsanctioned teaching by popular preach- 
ers and in books like Pinamonti's had imposed needless strains 
on belief and furnished their most militant opponents with 
a whole arsenal. Instead of reaching for "the extreme limit 
of human imagination," warned the Catholic World in 1893, 
let the preacher remember that, since the chief pains of hell 
are spiritual, analogies between the poena sensus and earthly 
fire are irrelevant at best. For terror to have effect, its reality 
must be believed in, and such behef is waning.^^ Although 
this writer clearly speaks only for himself, his feelings were 
not unique. Not long before, the Catholic convert and dis- 
tinguished biologist, St. George Mivart, had avowed that the 
breed of the "repulsive and widely known book entitled Hell 
Opened to Christians" was a lion in the path of many Catho- 
lics, professing and would-be, and that "hundreds of lectur- 
ers" were gaining aid and comfort from such gratuitous ad- 
ditions to what the church had defined.^^ Mivart did nothing 
for the cogency of his argument by defending the repulsive 
book's methods as the only means by which the preacher 
can convey the relative superiority of heaven; and the author- 
ities were unsympathetic toward his contention that Catholics 
may believe, like Universalists, in a gradual amelioration of 
the lot of the damned. In the notoriety they achieved among 
Catholics, however, Mivart's articles are comparable with the 
Eternal Hope sermons — so much so that his unspecified 
lecturers may have gained additional aid and comfort from. 


say, Achilles Daunt's rebuttal of his ideas {Tablet, December 
17, 1892), containing a detailed exposition of the pains of 
sense according to Liguori, whose similarities to Pinamonti 
we have already seen. 

Mivart calls Hell Opened 'widely known/' and there are 
indications that it was, if chiefly sub rosa; yet the bad fame 
he ascribes to it properly belongs to one of its lineal nine- 
teenth-century descendants. Over ten years before, the in- 
fluential Dublin Review, in an important article directed 
against the followers of Maurice, had considered the prob- 
lem that was to vex Mivart and had anticipated at least part 
of his verdict. After explaining what is of Catholic faith 
concerning hell, the Review admitted that many books and 
preachers have spoken of physical torments in language ''far 
from philosophically correct" and added the important corol- 
lary that, since no Catholic need give credence to such details 
offered them "in the nature of illustration," the question 
of hellfire sermons is to be tried chiefly on pragmatic and 
aesthetic grounds. And, in the Review's estimation, "gro- 
tesque horrors such as the late saintly Father Furness [sic] 
used to describe in his retreats, are bad in art and ineffective 
in result." ^^ 

The "saintly Father Furness" was the Reverend John 
Joseph Furniss, C.SS.R. (1809-65), and the "grotesque hor- 
rors" are displayed in his thirteen penny "Books for Children, 
and Young Persons," first printed by James Duffy probably 
between 1856 and 1863 — displayed most of all in Book x, 
The Sight of Hell. It was this tract of thirty-two pages that 
sustained most of the assaults of which Mivart speaks. Many 
of these denunciations were never printed, but, in those that 
were. The Sight of Hell stands out as Exhibit a in so many 
cases against everlasting punishment that it is not exaggera- 
tion to call it a principal cause of all such litigation. 

Born of a Catholic family. Father Furniss in 1850 joined 
the Redemptorists, only recently come to England, moved 
by his hfelong admiration of St. Alphonsus Liguori. During 

Joyce's Sermon on Hell 67 

the next thirteen years he took part in over a hundred retreats 
in England and Ireland, many of them among the potato- 
famine poor. After 1855, however, he concentrated upon 
separate children's missions, for v^hich he evolved an ap- 
proach all his own. ''Children," he declared, "cannot reason, 
you must make them understand through their feelings and 
imagination." ^^ And, like Pinamonti, whose tract he appears 
to have known and used, Furniss was nothing if not concrete: 
at least two of his hearers remembered the sermon on hell 
as "very terrible" after thirty-five years. 

Hell, exactly four thousand miles distant, is filled with tor- 
rents and fogs of fire so hot that one spark would dry up 
all the water of earth; yet it burns without giving light, 
cloaked in rolling sulphurous clouds of smoke. The shrieks of 
"millions and millions of tormented creatures mad with the 
fury of Hell" assail the ears; the stench of countless corpses, 
one of which, says St. Bonaventure, would infect all the 
earth, tortures the smell; a river of tears shed by the damned, 
who weep for the pain and "because they have lost the beau- 
tiful heaven," flows forever. Each soul has a "striking devil" 
(see Job 2:7) to ulcerate its body and a "mocking devil" to 
torment it with thoughts of good occasions lost, while every 
nerve, bone, and muscle "quivers" with fire that rages in the 
skull, shooting out of eyes and ears. Enduring one insect's 
sting for a lifetime, or beholding at midnight the ghost of 
one long dead, would only foreshadow the pain and terror 
of hell's venomous creeping worms and sights and sounds 
dreadful beyond description. And yet these, in turn, are noth- 
ing compared with the pain of having lost the heavenly joys 
which the damned, for their greater torment, are allowed to 
glimpse at Judgment.^^ 

Morbid as this is, we have met its like before (although 
not in rivalry with The Water Babies), and by itself it might 
have attracted no more lasting attention than Furniss' penny- 
dreadful word-paintings of phosphorescent charnel-house hor- 
rors or the drunkard's vile Hfe and death."'^ During their 


guided tour of the inferno, however, the children behold a 
series of dungeons along the flaming walls. In the first stands 
a girl who thought only of vanities: 

What a terrible dress she has on — her dress is made 
of fire. On her head she wears a bonnet of fire. It is pressed 
down close all over her head; it . . . burns into the skin; 
it scorches the bone of the skull and makes it smoke. The 
red hot fiery heat burns into the brain and melts it. . . . 
Think what a headache that girl must have. 

But most occupants are children: 

But hsten! there is a sound just like that of a kettle 
boiling. Is it really a kettle which is boiling? No; then 
what is it? . . . The blood is boihng in the scalded veins 
of that boy. The brain is boiling and bubbling in his head. 
The marrow is boiling in his bones! 

In the fifth dungeon: 

See! it is a pitiful sight. The little child [from another 
tract, The Terrible Judgment] is in this red hot oven. Hear 
how it screams to come out. See how it turns and twists 
... in the fire. It beats its head against the roof of the 
oven. It stamps its little feet on the floor of the oven. You 
can see on the face of this little child what you see on 
the faces of all in Hell — despair, desperate and horrible! 
. . . God was very good to this child. Very likely God saw 
that this child would . . . never repent, and so it would 
have to be punished much more in Hell. So God in His 
mercy called it out of the world in its early childhood.^^ 

The curious logic of party spirit lets the author's memori- 
alist assure us that only "vague and unsound" Protestant ele- 
ments took up arms against Furniss, while at the same time, 
it seems, his loving circumstantiality should not be taken too 
Hterally — even, presumably, by Cathohcs. (We also learn, 
however, that in his last illness Father Furniss often repeated 
the opinion of Blosius that anyone dying in a perfect act of 
resignation will escape hell and purgatory.) ^^ Conjectures 
aside, these three passages in which horrific eschatology is 

Joyce's Sermon on Hell 69 

set forth in the tone of a children's primer, together with the 
permissu superiorum on its title page, brought the tract an 
astonishing celebrity. As late as 1895 its Dublin publisher 
estimated total sales of the ''Books for Children" at over 
four million, adding that they still sold 'very extensively, 
. . . especially No. x [The Sight of Hell] and some others, 
owing to the attacks made upon them on public platforms 
and in the press by enemies of the Church." Father Furniss 
often distributed his tracts to the children at retreats, where 
they are said to have circulated at the rate of a thousand a 
month "with great effect." ^^ The effect may have been 
greater on adults than on children, who often manage to 
keep a saner perspective than philanthropic liberals or "the 
great army of free-thinkers . . . besieging the venerable su- 
perstitions of the past" ^^ who held up The Sight as the epit- 
ome of iniquitous priestcraft. In his History of European 
Morals (1869) W. E. H. Lecky viewed it in a lengthy note 
as the continuation of medieval efforts to infuse young minds 
with "a spirit of blind and abject credulity" and quoted 
substantially from three dungeon-sights in order to alert Eng- 
lishmen, referring interested readers to an unnamed "book 
on Hell, translated from the Italian of Pinamonti." ^^ Lecky's 
famous book by itself would have been enough to make both 
priests' works widely known. It may have led the prominent 
Unitarian minister, William Rathbone Greg, best remem- 
bered for The Creed of Christendom, to procure the copy 
of The Sight of Hell from which he quoted in 1872 to show 
that "material conceptions of the place of punishment" had 
by no means been discarded in the enhghtened present.^^ 
In such extravagant eschatology as the striking devil, the 
dress of fire, and the child in the oven, Greg found, like 
the Dublin Review, an explanation of the average Christian's 
professed belief in hell and practical disregard of it. A master- 
in-chancery, one Gerald Fitzgibbon, acknowledged the same 
year in Roman Catholic Priests and National Schools that 
Lecky's book led him to Furniss and Pinamonti, whose 


iniquities enabled him to see the national education issue as 
a struggle between a Church of England Ormazd and a 
Romish Ahriman.^^ Like Greg and Fitzgibbon, Mrs. Annie 
Besant emphasized that The Sight represented ''Roman 
Catholic authorized teaching" and scornfully examined ex- 
cerpts from the passages given in Greg to support her attack 
on the illogicality of eternal punishment.^^ And the lasting 
effects of the imagery of Furniss, as well as its continuing 
diffusion, are suggested by a report of nearly twenty years 
later that Mrs. Besant's denunciations of ''the frightful im- 
morality of . . . doctrines about Hell have been hailed with 
enthusiastic plaudits from a large London audience." ^^ 

Neither Mrs. Besant nor Greg mentioned Pinamonti. How- 
ever, Dean Farrar did, both in the immensely popular Eter- 
nal Hope sermons, in their twentieth printing by 1904, and 
in their longer sequel, Mercy and Judgment (1882), written 
in answer to Pusey's What Is of Faith as to Everlasting Pun- 
ishment? (1880) and still of value. In the former, as in- 
stances of the "utterly untenable forcing of . . . metaphoric 
language" by popular hellfire preachers, Farrar adduced an 
otherwise unidentified pamphlet of extracts "from Pina- 
monti and Father Furniss (permissu superiorum) containing 
passages too unutterably revolting, illustrated by woodcuts 
of such abhorrent atrocity, that even to look at them seemed 
to involve guilt." In the latter book he reverted twice in the 
strongest terms to the "frightful woodcuts of Pinamonti" 
and again warned the reader that it is permissu superiorum 
("two sad and starthng words") that the "coarse ravings of 
a vulgar imagination" in such "dreadful" tracts as The Sight 
of Hell are given to the public.^^ One final reference from 
the i88o's is of particular interest, not as a critical assessment 
of The Sight ("this farrago of abominable and blasphemous 
trash") or as yet another anthologizing of the boiling boy 
and the red-hot oven, but for the arresting statement that 
Hell Opened to Christians by "the Jesuit Pinamonti" was 
"translated or adapted" by Furniss as The Sight of Hell The 

Joyce's Sermon on Hell 71 

Reverend Sir George W. Cox, Bishop Colenso's biographer, 
was partly mistaken here; The Sight, though probably in- 
debted to its predecessor, is based primarily on St. Frances 
of Rome's vision of the three levels of hell, and Furniss was 
not ''also a member of the Society of Jesus." ^^ Still, this 
faulty information would have been of interest to anyone 
whose curiosity had already been piqued by The Sight. 

No further witnesses need be called upon to prove the 
conspicuousness of this work during the late Victorian de- 
bate over the scriptural basis for belief in a terminable and 
remedial punishment after death, the alleged paucity of the 
saved, and related issues. What is equally clear is that any- 
one acquainted — even indirectly — with the written or un- 
written literature of these questions not only must have been 
introduced to Furniss' tract but must also have garnered an 
impression of it somewhat as follows: The Sight of Hell is 
the ne plus ultra among those crudely materialistic repre- 
sentations of tortures that are designed to terrify into obedi- 
ence; its teaching is sanctioned by the Catholic church; ^^ 
and behind it — perhaps even as its source — is a sinister 
work by an Italian Jesuit which, as we have seen, enjoyed 
an unsavory repute in Joyce's schooldays. From the refer- 
ences in Ulysses, it is plain that Joyce had heard of the 
eternal-punishment issues at least before the date of the 
Wandering Rocks; and, since it is difficult to imagine Father 
Castelein's Le Rigorisme cropping up in Zurich conversations 
some twenty years after the book's publication, it is reasona- 
ble to infer that Joyce's knowledge of the question dates 
from a much earlier time (probably from his college years) 
and that his knowledge was more than superficial. And, if it 
was, then Father Furniss' Sight of Hell almost certainly 
formed part of it. True, Joyce might have been introduced 
to famous painters of hellfire by means of the sermons that 
were plentiful during his youth: **Just imagine a Mission," 
wrote a Catholic layman in sympathy with Mivart, ''without 
a good orthodox sermon on Hell!" ^^ Yet for all their "ma- 


terial fire of the most terrible description" that, according 
to this writer, formed the ordinary teaching of hell among 
Catholics, such sermons would hardly have dwelt upon the 
failure of modern critics to find everlasting damnation of the 
sinful or the unbaptized taught in the Bible — which, after 
all, was the root principle of the entire liberal movement un- 
der discussion here and which Haines seems to allude to in 
Ulysses. It is interesting, however, that Father J. A. Cullen, 
S.J., spiritual father at Belvedere and the probable original 
of Father Arnall,®* was noted for a "lurid" style of sermon. 
I know of no evidence that he ever employed either of the 
two tracts in describing the punishment of sin, but it is told 
that an 1849 mission conducted by two Jesuits who ''dealt 
generously in death and Hell-fire" had an immense effect 
on him and that Cullen himself remembered a presumably 
similar Redemptorist mission five years later as the decisive 
event of his youth.^^ It would have been theatrically ap- 
propriate had Father Furniss taken part in this second mis- 
sion, as he might have; but he did not. Most of his books, 
however, received their imprimatur the following year, and 
their contents may have been known to Furniss' associates 
who preached there. In any event, although actual sermons 
heard by Joyce undoubtedly contributed much to the retreat 
episode, this does not rule out the likelihood of Joyce's first- 
hand knowledge of writers on the larger hope. The indigna- 
tion displayed in Stephen Hero over ''obscene, stinking hells" 
strongly resembles the tone of the more outspoken denuncia- 
tions of Furniss that have been reviewed. And this feeling is 
surely the author's own, not that of a persona; its absence 
from the Portrait is a measure of the increased distance be- 
tween the later work's protagonist and his creator and not 
a sign that the earlier attitude was a Heroic pose or that the 
subject had faded from Joyce's mind.^^ 

Joyce could have made little use of The Sight; its episodic 
lack of coherence and childish tone are equally unsuited to 
Joyce's preacher and to his hearers. Its chief importance (if. 

Joyce*s Sermon on Hell 73 

as I think, he knew of it) lay in calhng his attention to Pina- 
monti's rigorous and vigorous analyses, whose efEciency, 
force, and scientific precision have been noted by Thomas 
Merton.^^ However, the problem of just how Hell Opened 
to Christians came into Joyce's hands is ultimately of the 
same order as the question of whether the retreat sermon of 
the Portrait corresponds to a particular event in the author's 
life. Even if the latter question could be answered affirma- 
tively, this would not alter the fact that the correspondence 
between Joyce's and Dedalus' lives is primarily an inward 
one. Joyce in the Portrait seeks a local habitation (seldom a 
name) for stages in the self-realization of a personality — 
one that he had largely left behind him by the time of writ- 
ing. He is concerned with psychological and metaphorical 
appositeness of event to thought and feeling rather than 
with literal accuracy in recording circumstances. Searching 
as he was for external correlatives of inward experience, he 
would and must have echoed George Moore's ''J^ prends 
mon bien ou je le trouve" — from contemporary theological 
Hterature, from obscure Dublin bookstalls, even from hear- 
say. It is his "inspired cribbing," ^^ his gift for transforming 
such unwieldy material as Hell Opened to Christians into 
one of the most dramatic and effective portions of the novel, 
that makes examination of Joyce's sources worthwhile. 


1. Editions of Joyce's works cited in the text are: A Portrait^ 
in The Portable James Joyce, ed. Harry Levin (New York: 
Viking, 1947); Stephen Hero, ed. Theodore Spencer (New 
York: New Directions, 1944); and Ulysses (New York: Modern 
Library, 1934). Permission of the publishers to quote from these 
editions is gratefully acknowledged. 

2. James T. Farrell, The League of Frightened Philistines 
(New York, [1945]), pp. 51-52; Marvin Magalaner (with 
R. M. Kain), Joyce: The Man, the Work, the Reputation (New 
York, 1956), pp. 25, 114; W. Y. Tindall, James Joyce (New 


York and London, 1950), p. 9; Hugh Kenner, Dublin s Joyce 
(London, 1955), pp. 127, 128; W. T. Noon, S.J., "J^^^^s Joyce 
and Catholicism," James Joyce Review, i (December, 1957), 
13. With this last cf. Catholic World, cv (June, 1917), 395-97. 

3. Joyce among the Jesuits (New York, 1958), pp. 36-37, 
128-30, 138, 141-42. 

4. Silent Years (New York, 1953), pp. 18-19; cf. ibid., p. 

5. Percy Dearmer, The Legend of Hell (London, 1929), pp. 

6. Text in Opere del padre Gio: Pietro Pinamonti della 
Compagnia di Gesii, con un breve Ragguaglio della sua vita. 
. . . (Parma, 1706), pp. 295-311. 

7. Frederic W. Farrar, Eternal Hope (New York, 1880), p. 
liii; cf. Dearmer, Legend of Hell, p. 11. 

8. As Father Arnall explains, mortal sin has two aspects. Since 
the malice of the first consists in seeking forbidden satisfaction 
through the senses, it is punished through the senses. The pain 
of sense, strictly speaking, is fire; the other torments in Pina- 
monti and writers in this tradition are called ''accidental." The 
far greater malice of sin's second aspect lies in the soul's aban- 
doning of God, and this is punished with the far greater torment 
of the poena damni or eternal separation from God. This is the 
"core" of eternal punishment, and, although the fire is real, not 
metaphorical, no one can specify the exact nature of its action, 
as St. Augustine declared {City of God xx 16). — Joseph 
Hontheim in Catholic Encyclopedia (1910), s.v. ''Hell." 

9. The corresponding sections are as follows. Pinamonti, 
Consideration i: Portrait, pp. 373-74, par. 1; 11 : p. 374, par. 
2 — p. 376, par. 1; III: p. 376, par. 2 — p. 377, par. 2 passim; 
IV: p. 382, par. 2 — p. 383, par. 1; v: p. 383, par. 2 — p. 385, 
par. 2; vi: p. 385, par. 3 — p. 386; vii: pp. 387-90 passim. 

10. Arnall's reference to Ecclesiastes 7:40 at the opening of 
the retreat {Portrait, p. 360) should be, of course, to Ecclesiasti- 
cus; and it might be inferred, assuming Joyce took these biblical 
references from Hell Opened, that here on page 381 he intended 
once more to satirize his preacher's learning, this time by chang- 
ing the verse number given in Pinamonti. If so, he inadvertently 
achieved just the opposite effect. Both errors may have been 
mere slips of the pen. Yet in the first, oddly, Arnall's "Remem- 

Joyce*s Sermon on Hell 75 

ber only thy last things" is almost the same as the translation 
of the verse in Hell Opened and quite different from "In all 
thy works remember thy last end, and thou shalt never sin" in 
the Douay Version, even though Joyce must have had to look 
up Pinamonti's incomplete reference (p. 4) to "Eccl. vii" in 
order to find the verse. And, if he did so, then both the "free" 
translation and the blunder of the first were probably deliberate 
on Joyce's part. 

11. Sullivan, Joyce among the Jesuits, p. 141. 

12. Preparation for Death, trans. Anonymous (Louisville, 
n.d.), pp. 224-27, 229, 237. Cf. Portrait, pp. 373-75, 382, 385. 

13. Clement F. Rogers, The Fear of Hell as an Instrument 
of Conversion (London, 1939), esp. chaps, iv and v; E. B. Pusey, 
What Is of Faith as to Everlasting Punishment? (3d ed.; Ox- 
ford and London, 1881), pp. 172 ff. 

14. G. G. Coulton, Five Centuries of Religion, i (Cambridge, 
1923), esp. 29, 61, 70-73, 89, and Appendix 11. 

15. Tertullian Apologeticus xivii; St. Gregory Dialogues xlii; 
Summa TheoL, Part in, Suppl., Q97, arts, iv and vii. 

16. Tertullian, "Of Public Shows" xxx (cf. Apologeticus 
xlviii); St. Gregory Dialogues xxxi (cf. xxix-xxx, xxxvi, and 
Moralia xv); Bede Ecclesiastical History xii; Edwards, Works 
(New York, 1881), iv, 260-61. See also Augustine City of God 
xxi. 2-4; Summa TheoL, Part iii, Suppl., Q97, arts, i, v, and vi; 
or even Robert Pollok, The Course of Time (Edinburgh, 1827), 
Book I, 11. 250-69. 

17. St. Alphonsus Liguori, Reflections on Spiritual Subjects, 
trans. Anonymous (Boston, 1851), p. 114. 

18. Lessius, The Names of God . . . [selections from De 
perfectionibus], trans. T. J. Campbell (New York, 1912), pp. 
221-22; Summa TheoL, Part iii, Suppl., Q98, arts, i, iv, and v. 

19. Lib. xiii, cap. xxiv, xxix (text of Opuscula [Paris, 1881], 
1,463, 509). 

20. Taylor, Works (London, 1853), 11, 390-93. Robert 
Gathorne-Hardy discusses this work's origins in The Golden 
Grove, ed. L. P. Smith (Oxford, 1930), p. 328. 

21. Obras escogidas, ed. D. E. Zepeda-Henriquez (Madrid, 
1957), II, 210, 214-15. La Diferencia was translated into Latin, 
Italian, and English. 

22. Think Well On't: or. Reflections on the Great Truths 


of the Christian Religion (Derby, 1843), pp. 45-46. (First 
published in 1728.) 

23. Eternal Hope, p. 67. 

24. Four [Considerations] on Eternity [with works by Pina- 
monti and La Nuza], trans. Anonymous (London, 1877), p. 94. 
Manni's La Prigione eterna delV inferno (1669), which I have 
not seen, is said to be similar to Hell Opened to Christians 
(St. George Mivart, Nineteenth Century, xxxii [December, 
1892], 902). 

25. Preparation for Death, p. 238; Obras escogidas, 11, 24. 

26. Considerations of Drexelius upon Eternity, trans. Ralph 
Winterton (London, 1689), p. 92. Cf. Nieremberg, loc. cit. 

27. Little Book of Eternal Wisdom, trans. Anonymous (Lon- 
don, [1910]), p. 68. Coulton, Wright, Lecky, and others deal 
thoroughly with medieval ideas of future punishment; for recent 
times the best chart is Ezra Abbot's valuable bibliography 
appended to W. R. Alger's Critical History of the Doctrine of 
a Future Life (Philadelphia, 1864) —historically important, but 
often more exhortative than critical. Dearmer's important Legend 
of Hell is primarily a study of the scriptural basis of the belief. 

28. *']sLmes Joyce and Catholicism," p. 13. 

29. Summa of the Christian Life, trans, and ed. Jordan 
Aumaun (St. Louis and London, 1957), m, 347, 349. 

30. E.g., the accounts of death and judgment in Pinamonti, 
Opere, pp. 151-52, 156-58, 262-63; Liguori, Preparation for 
Death, pp. 215-22; St. Francis of Sales, Philothea or an Intro- 
duction to the Devout Life (New York and London, [1923]), 
pp. 30, 32-33. 

31. Summa TheoL, Part iii, Suppl., Q94, art. iii. 

32. Stanislaus Joyce, My Brother's Keeper, ed. Richard Ell- 
mann (New York, 1958), pp. 80-82. See also Stephen Hero, 
p. 57, and Sullivan, Joyce among the Jesuits, pp. 36-37. 

33. Coulton, Five Centuries, i, 445-49; Dearmer, Legend of 
Hell, pp. 59-61. Coulton's confusion of Castelein's book with 
F. X. Godts's {op. cit., 11, 665) is repeated by Dearmer {op. cit., 
p. 59 n.). 

34. "He throve on the smell / Of a horrible hell / That a 
Hottentot wouldn't believe in" {Letters, ed. Stuart Gilbert 
[New York, 1957], p. 102). 

35. Writing in a friendly spirit, Lecky in 1865 described the 

Joyce*s Sermon on Hell 77 

main characteristic of modern Christianity as a "boundless phi- 
lanthropy/' even to the point of "effeminate sentimentahty" 
(History of the Rise and Influence of the Spirit of Rationalism 
in Europe [rev. ed.; New York and London, 1925], i, 347-48). 
Cf. Charles Haddon Spurgeon, Sermons (New York, 1893-94), 
II, 264 (ca. 1857). 

36. As in E. H. Plumptre, The Spirits in Prison . . . (New 
York, 1885), pp. 21-23. 

37. Theological Essays (2d ed.; New York, 1854), p. 341. 

38. G. W. Cox, Life of John William Colenso (London, 
1888), I, 47-48, 149. 

39. Ten Weeks in Natal (Cambridge, 1855), pp. 252-53; St. 
PauVs Epistle to the Romans . . . (New York, 1863), pp. 
164-85, 198. 

40. E.g., Christian Observer, lxii (1862), 940. 

41. Everlasting Punishment (Oxford and London, 1864), p. 
15. Cf. Spurgeon, Sermons, 1, 313; 11, 275-76. 

42. Lecky, Rationalism, i, 338. 

43. [Richard }.(?) Clarke], "Eternal Punishment and Eternal 
Love," The Month, xliv (January, 1882), 15. 

44. Nicholas Walsh, S.J., The Comparative Number of the 
Saved and the Lost (Dublin, 1899), p. 106. 

45. Augustine F. Hewitt, "Ignis aeternus," Catholic World, 
Lvii (1893), 19, 24. 

46. "Happiness in Hell," Nineteenth Century, xxxii (De- 
cember, 1892), 902, 916-18; "Last Words on the Happiness 
in Hell: A Rejoinder," ibid., xxxiii (April, 1893), 646-48. 
Mivart's dissatisfactions led finally to his break with ecclesiastical 
authority and subsequent excommunication. 

47. "Everlasting Punishment," Dublin Review, v (3d ser., 
1881), 137-38. 

48. T[homas] Livius, C.SS.R., Father Furniss and His Work 
for Children (London, etc., 1896), p. 58. 

49. The Sight of Hell (Dublin and London, n.d.), pp. 3-4, 
6-9, 13-17. 

50. God and His Creatures (the collected edition of the 
Books [London, 1864]), pp. 162-64, 323-27. 

51. Sight of Hell, pp. 17-18, 20-21. Furniss also wrote God 
Loves Little Children. 

52. Livius, Father Furniss, pp. 114, 139, 168. 


53. Ibid., pp. 101, 116, 171. 

54. Annie Besant, On Eternal Torture (London, [1874]), 
p. 3. 

55. History of European Morals from Augustus to Charle- 
magne (5th ed.; London, 1882), 11, 223-24, n. 2. Lecky appears 
to have modified his opinion of 1865. See above, n. 42. 

56. Enigmas of Life (Boston, 1875), pp. 267-69 n. 

57. Fitzgibbon's overstatements and inaccuracies drew a 
singularly inept reply from T. E. Bridgett, C.SS.R., reprinted 
in his Blunders and Forgeries (London, 1890), pp. 114-56. 

58. On Eternal Torture, pp. 7-8. 

59. Mivart, ''Last Words on the Happiness in Hell," p. 646. 

60. Eternal Hope, p. liii; Mercy and Judgment (2d ed.; Lon- 
don, 1882), pp. 106-7, ^3^- 

61. Life of John William Colenso, i, 158-59. 

62. Cf. Stephen Hero, p. 232: "they believe in the infallibility 
of the Pope and in all his obscene, stinking hells." 

63. H. McCann, in The Tablet, lxxxi (February 18, 1893), 

64. Sullivan, Joyce among the Jesuits, 128-29. 

65. Lambert McKenna, S.}., Life and Work of Rev. James 
Aloysius Cullen (London, 1924), pp. 13-14, 34, 97. 

66. One final point suggests that Joyce knew The Sight of 
Hell. We have seen that the bird carrying away the sandhill of 
eternity a grain at a time is a stock image. Father Arnall makes 
an extended use of it; Pinamonti, however, ignores it. But the 
bird appears in one of Furniss' hyperboles as part of a strikingly 
ill-reasoned illustration: ''Think of a great solid iron ball, larger 
than the Heavens and the earth. A bird comes once in a hun- 
dred millions of years and just touches the great iron ball with 
a feather of its wing. Think that you have to burn in a fire till 
the bird has worn the great iron ball away with its feather. Is 
this Eternity? No" (p. 24). 

67. The Seven Storey Mountain (New York, 1948), p. 211. 

68. Richard Ellmann, Introduction to My Brother's Keeper 
by Stanislaus Joyce, p. xv. 

The Characterization of Molly Bloom 


An abbreviated version of this paper was read at the Fourth Triennial 
Conference of the International Association oi Vniveisity Pioiessois 
of English, at the University of Lausanne, on August 28, 1959. The 
writing of the paper was made possible, in part, by a sabbatical leave of 
absence from Wayne State University and a grant-in-aid from the Mod- 
ern Language Association of America. A fevi^ sentences, with some re- 
vision, are reprinted by permission of the publishers from my "James 
Joyce's Ulysses as a Work in Progress" in Summaries of Theses Ac- 
cepted in Partial Fulfilment of the Requirements for the Degree of 
Doctor of Philosophy [in Harvard University], 1943-1945, Cambridge, 
Mass.: Harvard University Press, Copyright, 1947, by The President 
and Fellows of Harvard College. Joyce's revisions are quoted by per- 
mission of the James Joyce Estate. 

A S the paper which follows represents a chapter of a longer 
study, I should like to make a few introductory and, later, a 
few concluding observations on the place of this chapter 
within the study as a whole. 

The purpose of this study is to analyze the technique of 
Ulysses as it is revealed by the growth of the text through 

JOSEPH PRESCOTT is PvofessoT of English at Wayne State Uni- 
versity. In addition to contributing articles to the Encyclopaedia 
Britannica, he has served as editor of Configuration critique de 
James Joyce, 2 volumes {La Revue des lettres modemes, Autumn, 
1959 and Winter, 1959-60). A volume of his writings on Joyce 
is to be published by Southern Illinois University Press. 



the innumerable, extensive, and significant changes which 
the author made in various stages in the writing of the book. 
As the materials of Ulysses were going through the creative 
process in now widely scattered manuscripts, typescripts, 
proof sheets, and other preliminary drafts, the revisions 
added up to an enormous body of evidence which yields 
much new light on Joyce's intentions and methods. 

The present study takes account of such things as the 
manuscript notebooks and sheets in the University of Buffalo 
Library and the Cornell University Library, the manuscript 
of Ulysses in the Rosenbach Foundation, a certain number 
of scattered typescript sheets, the partial and untrustworthy 
serial version in the Little Review, a large collection of proof 
sheets in the Harvard University Library, several proof sheets 
in the Yale University Library, and other documents in 
private hands. The fact that the proofs in the Harvard 
Library alone offer from one to eight galleys for any given 
segment of Ulysses should indicate how the materials afford 
a fascinating insight into Joyce's methods as well as a basis 
for observations on the entire history of the evolution of 
the novel. 

This paper is the last of four chapters on characterization, 
the first dealing with Stephen Dedalus, the second with Leo- 
pold Bloom,* and the third with minor characters. 

So far as characterization generally is concerned, Joyce's 
recorded remarks encourage one to believe that he started 
with large and fluid concepts which he then proceeded to 
particularize by concrete, detailed illustration. The reader's 

* The first appeared as "The Characterization oi Stephen Dedalus in 
Ulysses" in Letterature Moderne, ix (March-April, 1959), i^$-6y, a 
summary of the second as "The Characterization of Leopold Bhom" in 
Literature and Psychology, ix (Winter, 1959), 3-4. For one of two 
chapters on style, see "Stylistic Realism in Joyce's Ulysses" in A James 
Joyce Miscellany: Second Series, ed. Marvin MagaJaner {Caihondale 
[III], 1959), PP- iS~^^> ^^^ ^ summary oi the other, see "The Language 
of James Joyce's Ulysses" in Langue et Litt6rature: Actes du VHP 
Congr^s de la Federation Internationale des Langues et Litteratures 
Modernes [Paris, 1961), pp. ^o6-y. 

The Characterization of Molly Bloom 81 

experience, however, is inductive, and only after building up 
a character bit by bit can he perceive the pattern of the 
whole. More importantly, working from the preliminary 
versions, he begins at a stage that is inductive for both author 
and reader, the author introducing details, the reader follow- 
ing the author, both building toward the whole, the first 
from preconceived outlines, the second toward outlines that 
are yet to be apprehended. Painstakingly, indefatigably, Joyce 
linked together the innumerable atoms that finally emerge as 
Stephen Dedalus, Leopold Bloom, the minor characters, 
and Molly Bloom. With the benefit of hindsight the reader 
of the published text may fluently formulate these people as 
products of this, that, and other forces; the process of crea- 
tion, however, is recaptured only when he retraces the steps 
which Joyce took in shaping his characters. 


Like her husband, Mrs. Bloom is a new creation in 
Ulysses; and again, in consequence, the various stages in the 
writing swarm with changes. 

About the genesis of Molly, as about that of Bloom, Her- 
bert Gorman gives us authoritative information : 

There were two models for this great character of Molly 
Bloom, one a Dubliner and the other an Italian. The war- 
time correspondence of the Italian passed through Joyce's 
hands during the period he lived in Zurich. There was 
nothing political in these letters, whose grammar Joyce 
corrected, but the Austrian censors must have had more 
than one sizzling moment while reading them. That, how- 
ever, did not perturb the full-blooded Italian lady.^ 

We shall find that this account, in spite of its brevity, ex- 
plains much of the character for whom the Italian woman 


Again as in the case of her husband, Mrs. Bloom is given 
no formal descriptive introduction. We grow acquainted 
with her physical appearance by the same process of accre- 
tion which Joyce uses for all his other characters. In view of 
Molly's effect upon men, it is appropriate that we gain most 
of our information concerning her physique from the impres- 
sions of the men who know her, chief among whom, of 
course, is her husband. We learn gradually — to cite only a 
few passages from among a great many — that she has ''large 
soft bubs sloping within her nightdress like a shegoat's ud- 
der" and ''full lips",^ large young Moorish eyes inherited 
with her figure from her Spanish mother,^ a "plump . . . 
generous arm," ^ thick wavy black hair,^ a plump body,^ 
ample buttocks,^ a dark complexion.^ 

The nearest thing to a formal description of Molly comes 
toward the end of the day and concerns not Molly herself 
but an approximately eight-year-old photograph of her, 

showing a large sized lady, with her fleshy charms on evi- 
dence in an open fashion, as she was in the full bloom of 
womanhood, in evening dress cut ostentatiously low for 
the occasion to give a liberal display of bosom, with more 
than vision of breasts, her full lips parted, and some per- 
fect teeth . . . eyes, dark, large, . . .^ 

For the most part, it will be noted, the likeness still holds. 

In revising, Joyce adds to our awareness of several points 
in Molly's appearance. Thus, Bloom, ordering white wax for 
her, thinks: "Brings out the darkness of her eyes. Looking at 
me, the sheet up to her eyes smelling herself, when I was 
fixing the hnks in my cuffs." After the second "eyes" Joyce 
adds ", Spanish,".io 

At twilight Bloom thinks back upon Cissy Caffrey: "And 
the dark one with the mop head and the nigger mouth. I 
knew she could whistle. Mouth made for that." After the 
last phrase Joyce adds: ". Like Molly." ^^ Considering what 
we know about Molly's appearance, it would have been little 
wonder had Cissy's complexion or hair, as well as her mouth. 

The Characterization of Molly Bloom 83 

inspired the comparison; the three together made it inevita- 
Molly herself remembers 

the day I was in fits of laughing with the giggles I couldn't 
stop about all my hairpins falling one after another youre 
always in great humour she [Josie Powell] said yes because 
it grigged her because she knew what it meant 

Following "another" Joyce inserts ''with the mass of hair I 

Looking further back to her Gibraltar days, Molly recalls: 
''I had everything all to myself then a girl Hester we used 
to compare our hair she showed me how to settle it at the 
back when I put it up". After ''hair" Joyce adds "mine was 
thicker than hers".^^ 

From Molly's physique it is no far cry to the most salient 
aspect of her character — her sexuality. She is, as Joyce wrote, 
" 'sane full amoral fertilisable untrustworthy engaging lim- 
ited prudent indifferent Weib. "Ich bin das Fleisch das stets 
bejaht!" ' " ^* Other qualities only modify this central fact 
of her existence. 

Towards all things, sex included, Molly maintains a frank 
attitude. Again and again she measures things by their 
naturalness. The imperturbability of the full-blooded Italian 
woman was not lost in Joyce's character-transfusion. 

In the process of revision, Molly's emphasis on naturalness 
is augmented. Of her husband she thinks: "but of course hes 
not natural". After "natural" Joyce adds "like the rest of the 

Molly recalls Leopold's courtship: "sending me that long 
strool of a song out of the Huguenots to sing in French to 
be more classy O beau pays de la Touraine that I never even 
sang once". After "once" Joyce adds "explaining and rigma- 
roling about religion and persecution he wont let you enjoy 
anything naturally".^^ 

Almost immediately afterward, Molly observes: "they 


ought to make chambers a bit bigger so that a woman could 
sit on it properly". For ''bit bigger" Joyce substitutes ''natural 

Later in the same galley as that containing the last addi- 
tion, Molly thinks about triangles: "her husband found it 
out well and if he did can he undo it". For "well" Joyce 
substitutes "what they did together well naturally".^^ 

The sense of guilt so commonly associated with sex is for- 
eign to Molly even beyond the borders of social convention. 
She recalls some of Bloom's talk: "who is in your mind now 
tell me who are you thinking of who is it tell me his name 
who tell me who the German emperor is it yes imagine Im 
him think of him can you feel". After "feel" Joyce adds 
"him trying to make a whore of me what he never will".^^ 

Molly's straightforward acceptance of the body moves her 
to disgust with all mincing and concealment. She considers 
the books Leopold brings her: "the works of Master Francois 
somebody supposed to be a priest about a child born out of 
her ear because her bumgut fell out a nice word for any priest 
to write". After "write" Joyce adds "and her a — e as if any 
fool wouldnt know what that meant I hate that pretending 
of all things".^^ 

In the same vein Molly thinks of her adultery: "O much 
about it if thats all the harm ever we did in this vale of tears 
God knows its not much". After "not much" Joyce inserts 
"doesn't everybody only they hide it".^^ 

Yet, as a member of society Molly is driven to deceit-by- 
silence. She considers what she will do in the morning: "111 
see if he has that French letter still in his pocketbook I sup- 
pose he thinks I dont know". After "know" Joyce inserts 
"deceitful men they havent pocket enough for their lies then 
why should we tell them if its the truth they dont believe 

Molly's elemental attitude toward sex is again introduced 
in her thoughts on Stephen: "what is he [Bloom] driving at 
now". After "now" Joyce adds "showing him my photo its 

The Characterization of Molly Bloom 85 

not good of me still I look young in it I wonder he didnt 
make him a present of it altogether and me too after all why 

That Molly may be completely natural, Joyce gives am- 
bivalence to her emotion toward men: her sexual avidity is 
set off by resentment and hostility. 

In connection with childbirth she thinks: 

and Mina Purefoys husband give us a swing out of your 
whiskers filling her up with a child or twins once a year 
as regular as the clock supposed to be healthy supposing 
I risked having another 

After ''healthy" Joyce adds ''not satisfied till they have us 
swollen out like elephants or I don't know what".^* 

Feeling that she did not look her best while receiving 
Boylan, Molly explains: 

besides scrooching down on me like that all the time with 
his big hipbones he's heavy too with his hairy chest for this 
heat better for him put it into me from behind 

After "heat" Joyce adds "always having to lie down for 

Again on the subject of Boylan she thinks: "I gave my 
eyes that look with my hair a bit loose from the tumbling 
and my tongue between my lips up to him Thursday Friday 
one Saturday two Sunday three O Lord I cant wait till Mon- 
day". After "him", between Molly's report of her recent de- 
sire for this particular male and her expression of impatience 
for reunion with him, Joyce inserts "the savage brute".^^ 

Having called to mind the "Aristocrats Masterpiece" and 
its illustrations, Molly thinks: "that's the kind of villainy 
they're always dreaming about with not another thing in 
their empty heads then tea and toast for him and newlaid 
eggs". After "him" Joyce adds fuel to Molly's resentment: 
"buttered on both sides". ^^ At a later stage, after "heads" 
he inserts "they ought to get slow poison the half of them".-^ 

Yet Molly can extenuate the treatment men accord 


women. About Stephen's nightwandering she thinks: ''his 
poor mother wouldnt Hke that if she was ahve ruining him- 
self for hfe perhaps". After "perhaps" Joyce adds: 

still its a lovely hour so silent I used to love coming home 
after dances the air of the night they have friends they 
can talk to weve none either he wants what he wont get 
or its some woman ready to stick her knife in you I hate 
that in women no wonder they treat us the way they do I 
suppose its all the troubles we have makes us so snappy Im 
not like that^^ 

Later, after "do" he inserts "we are a dreadful lot of 
bitches" .^^ 

When she is in the affirmative mood, Molly excels in the 
science of attracting the male. Part of an addition in manu- 
script reads: "a young boy would like me I'd confuse him a 
little looking at him".^^ In typescript, after "little" Joyce 
adds "and make him turn red".^^ In proof, between "little" 
and "and" he inserts "alone with him if we were let him see 
my garters the new ones"; and after "looking at him" he adds 
"seduce him I know what boys feel with that down on their 
cheek" .^2 

Molly also knows what her husband feels. She is consider- 
ing methods of retaining his attention even in the face of 
competition: "I know several ways". Following this phrase, 
in manuscript, Joyce adds a specimen: "touch him with my 
veil and gloves on going out one kiss then would send them 
all spinning however alright we'll see then".^^ In proof, be- 
tween "ways" and "touch" he adds another specimen: "ask 
him to tuck down the collar of my blouse or".^^ In a later 
proof, he changes "several" to "plenty of".^^ 

But Molly's technique has a history, and we are admitted 
to a number of pages in the chapter on The Winning of 
Leopold Bloom. She remembers how she thwarted an at- 
tempt at a proposal by Bloom: "only for I put him off letting 
on I was in a temper with my hands and arms full of pastry 
flour". After "flour" Joyce adds "in any case I let out too 

The Characterization of Molly Bloom 87 

much the night before talking of dreams so I didnt want to 
let him know more than was good for him".^"^ 

In connection with one of Molly's amours, Joyce, in type- 
script, adds the thought ''he [Bloom] thinks nothing can 
happen without him knowing" .^^ In proof, after ''knowing" 
he inserts "he hadnt an idea about my mother till we were 
engaged otherwise hed never have got me so cheap as he 

Molly recalls, among her readings, "the Shadow of Ash- 
lydyat Mrs Henry Wood Henry Dunbar by that other 
woman". After "woman" Joyce inserts "I lent him after- 
wards with Mulveys photo in it so as he see I wasn't with- 

We gain further insight into Molly's technique when her 
thought comes round again to her most recent lover: "I 
wonder was I too heavy sitting on his knee he was so busy he 
never felt me easy". After "knee" Joyce adds "when I took 
off only my blouse and skirt first" .^^ Later, after "first" he 
adds "in the other room".^^ Later still, between "knee" and 
"when" he inserts "I made him sit on the easychair pur- 
posely"; and between "me" and "easy", "I hope my breath 
was sweet after those kissing comfits".^^ 

The last example which I shall offer of additions to Molly's 
technique occurs in her thoughts on Stephen Dedalus as a 
possible successor to Boylan: "111 read and study all I can 
find so he wont think me stupid". After "find" Joyce adds 
"or learn a bit by heart if I knew who he likes".'** 

Bound up with Molly's desire to attract the male is an old 
streak of exhibitionism. In manuscript, Joyce adds a child- 
hood memory: "I'm sure that fellow opposite used to be 
watching with the lights out in the summer and I in my 
skin hopping around I used to love myself then stripped at 
the washstand dabbing and creaming".*^ In proof, after 
*'creaming" he adds further "only when it came to the cham- 
ber performance I put out the light too so then there were 
2 of us" .46 


Now Molly is considering her program for the projected 
concert: ''111 sing Winds that blow from the south that he 
gave after the choirstairs performance". After "performance" 
Joyce adds ''111 change that lace on my black dress to show 
oflf my bubs and 111 yes by God 111 get that big fan 
mended".^^ In the light of this addition, another becomes 
amusing. Molly's thought has run on to Fanny M'Coy: 
"skinny thing with a turn in her eye trying to sing my songs 
shed want to be born all over again and her old green dress 
like dabbling on a rainy day". After "dress" Joyce adds "with 
the lowneck as she cant attract them any other way".^^ 

A derived form of exhibitionism inspires two additions. 
Molly is thinking about Mulvey, her first lover: "perhaps hes 
married some girl on the black water I was a bit wild after". 
Following "black water" Joyce adds "she little knows what 

1 did with her beloved husband before he ever dreamt of her 
in broad daylight too in the sight of the whole world you 
might say".^^ Later, after "say" he inserts "they could have 
put an article about it in the Chronicle" .^^ 

Concerning the possibility of Stephen as successor to 
Boylan, in a context recently cited, Molly thinks: "and I can 
teach him [Stephen] the other part 111 make him feel all 
over him then hell write about me lover and mistress publicly 
too with our photographs in the papers when he becomes 
famous". To insure the full satisfaction of Molly's desire for 
the advertising of her conquest, Joyce adds "all" before "the 

After her person, if not before, the most powerful weapon 
in a woman's arsenal is her clothing — a fact of which Molly 
is not unmindful. From the text of one galley we may in- 
fer that, when she had removed her blouse and skirt, she 
came in to Boylan in "a short blue silk petticoat," which 
Bloom later sees. But Joyce deletes "short", and for "silk 
petticoat" he substitutes "accordion underskirt of blue silk 
moirette,".^^ Molly's personal charms now turn out to have 
been reinforced, not by a plain blue silk undergarment, but 

The Characterization of Molly Bloom 89 

by one that is likely to have acted upon Boylan more strik- 
ingly. Furthermore, the shortness is not permanently elimi- 
nated. A short underskirt would be likely, by flaring, to add 
fullness to Molly's already sizable buttocks, an effect which 
would hardly escape the sexological technician in Molly — 
and didn't. For Joyce merely postpones this part of his de- 
scription of the underskirt to Molly's memory of Boylan's 
behavior: "no thats no way for him has he no manners . . . 
slapping us behind like that on my bottom . . . O well I 
suppose its because they were so plump and tempting in my 
short petticoat he couldnt resist". ^^ 

The relationship between the uses of women's clothing 
and women's preoccupation with and awareness of clothing, 
hardly needs arguing. Molly shows repeatedly that she has 
an eye and a memory for her wearing apparel and others', 
both women's and men's. Thus, in manuscript, she thinks 
concerning Boylan: ''lovely stuff in that blue suit he had on 
and stylish tie and silk socks he's certainly well off".^^ In 
proof, this passage ends: "and socks with the skyblue silk 
things on them hes certainly welloff". After "welloff" Joyce 
adds "I know by the cut his clothes have and his heavy 

Molly recalls her Spanish days: 

thats why I was afraid when that other ferocious old bull 
began to charge the banderilleros and the brutes of men 
shouting bravo toro sure the women were as bad ripping 
all the whole insides out of those poor horses 

After "banderilleros" Joyce inserts "with the things in their 
hats". Then, after the newly introduced "the", he adds 
further "sashes and the 2". And after "bad" he inserts "in 
their nice white mantillas".^^ 

Molly remembers the departure of a friend from Gibraltar: 
"she had a gorgeous wrap on her for the voyage". Follow- 
ing this phrase Joyce adds, in typescript: "made very pe- 
culiarly to one side like and it was extremely pretty".^' In 


proof, after "wrap" he adds ''of some special kind of blue 

Molly is thinking about Mulvey: "my blouse open for his 
last day". After "day" Joyce adds "transparent kind of shirt 
he had I could see his chest pink".^^ 

About the photograph of herself which Bloom showed to 
Stephen, Molly thinks: "its not good of me still I look 
young in it". After "me" Joyce inserts "I ought to have got 
it taken in drapery that never looks out of fashion" .^^ 

True to life, Molly has thoughts which we associate partic- 
ularly with the feminine mind. She recalls "that old faggot 
Mrs Riordan": "I suppose she was pious because no man 
would look at her twice". After "twice" Joyce adds "I hope 
111 never be like her".^^ 

A little later Molly thinks: "I wish some or other would 
take me sometimes when he's there and kiss me in his arms". 
Apparently the printer has been guilty of an omission, as 
the typescript reads "some man".^^ In proof, Joyce changes 
"some" to "somebody", which he then replaces with the 
original "some man" ^^ — ehminating the neutral "-body" 
so that Molly, as a female mind, again thinks of the some- 
body in terms of mascuHnity. 

The maternal instinct in Molly also expresses itself: "sup- 
posing I risked having another not of him [Boylan] though 
still if he was married Im sure hed have a fine strong child but 
I dont know Poldy has more spunk in him". After the second 
"him" Joyce adds "yes thatd be awfully jolly".^^ 

Molly's experience as a mother inspires an addition. She 
thinks : "an hour he was at them [her breasts] Im sure by the 
clock all the pleasure those men get out of a woman". After 
"clock" Joyce adds "like some kind of a big infant I had at 
me they want everything in their mouth".^^ 

Molly considers the time: "a quarter after what an un- 
earthly hour". After "hour" Joyce adds "I suppose theyre 
just getting up in China now combing their pigtails for the 
day".^^ At a later stage, after "combing" Joyce adds "out" ^^ 

The Characterization of Molly Bloom 91 

— completing a thought most hkely to occur to a woman 
with thick long hair which she probably has to comb out 
each morning. It should also be remembered that we are 
dealing with the year 1904, when all women wore their hair 

The possible return of Stephen Dedalus moves Molly to 
think: "first I want to do the place up someway". Joyce brings 
out the housewife in Molly by inserting, after this phrase, 
"the dust grows in it I think while Im asleep".^^ 

Both cause and effect of Molly's particular experience as 
a woman is her perspicacity in all matters relating to sex. 
She is probably not exaggerating greatly when, in consider- 
ing Dublin women, she thinks: "passion God help their poor 
head I knew more about men and life when I was 15 than 
theyll all know at 50".^^ 

She recalls a choir party at which Leopold sprained his 
foot: "Miss Stack bringing him flowers the worst old ones 
she could find at the bottom of the basket". After "basket" 
Joyce adds, in proof: "with her old maids voice trying to 
imagine he was dying on account of her to never see thy face 
again".'''^ And between a later proof ^^ and the published 
text, again after "basket", Joyce must have introduced "any- 
thing at all to get into a mans bedroom". 

Regarding a former confessor Molly thinks: "he had a 
nice fat hand the palm moist always I wouldn't mind feel- 
ing it". After "it" Joyce inserts "neither would he Id say by 
his bullneck".^2 

Of her experience with Boylan she thinks, in manuscript: 
"no I never in all my life felt anyone had one the size of that 
to make you feel full up". Before "no" Joyce inserts "he 
must have eaten oysters I think a few dozen"."^^ In proof, 
after "up" Joyce adds "he must have a whole sheep after" ."^^ 

In manuscript, Molly's observing eye has learned to recog- 
nize vicarious affection: "she used to be always embracing 
me Josie whenever he was there meaning him of course". 
After "course" Joyce adds: 


glauming me over and when I said I washed up and down 
as far as possible asking me and did you wash possible 
the women are always egging on to that when he's there 
they know by his eye the kind he is what spoils him ^^ 

In proof, after ''his" Joyce adds ''sly''; after "eye", "bhnking 
a bit when they come out with something" J^ In a later 
proof, after "bit" he adds "putting on the indifferent"/^ 

Again in manuscript, Molly's wardrobe occupies her at- 
tention: "Ive no clothes at all the men won't look at you 
and women try to walk on you"J^ In proof, this passage has 
become: "I've no clothes at all cutting up this old hat and 
patching up the other the men won't look at you and women 
try to walk on you". After "on you" Joyce adds "because 
they know youve no man then"J^ 

Besides representing the eternal feminine, Molly lives un- 
der and is conditioned by particular circumstances. 

She gives evidence of the fact that she is the daughter of a 
soldier: "I hate the mention of politics after the war that 
Pretoria and Ladysmith and Bloemfontein where Gardner, 
Lieut Stanley, G, 8th Bn, Somerset Lt. Infantry killed". For 
"Somerset Lt. Infantry killed" Joyce substitutes "2nd East 
Lanes Rgt of enteric fever" .^^ The historical detail ^^ which 
Joyce introduces, not only gives us the feel of a mind of the 
time, but also prepares for a stroke of characterization. Al- 
most immediately afterward, though in a later version, Molly 
thinks : 

they could have made their peace in the beginning or old 
00m Paul and the rest of the old Krugers go and fight it 
out between them instead of dragging on for years killing 
any finelooking men there were I love to see a regiment 
pass in review 

After "were" Joyce adds "with their fever if he was even 
decently shot it wouldnt have been so mad".^^ The soldier's 
daughter might have condoned the loss of her man had he 
died in the field.^^ 

Molly is proud of her military connection. She is thinking 
about Kathleen Kearney and her voice pupils: 

The Characterization of Molly Bloom 93 

anything in the world to make themselves someway inter- 
esting theyd die down dead if ever they got a chance of 
walking down the Alameda on an officer's arm like me on 
the bandnight 

After "interesting" Joyce adds ''soldiers daughter am I ay 
and whose are you bootmakers and publicans I beg your 
pardon coach I thought you were a wheelbarrow".^^ 

Molly's military background also influences her speech.^^ 
She remembers: *'he [Bloom] was throwing his sheeps eyes 
at those two I tried to wink at him first". After ''two" Joyce 
inserts "doing skirt duty up and down".^^ 

Molly's upbringing in Gibraltar has left its mark, and the 
Spanish content of her mind is carefully built up. 

An addition to this influence is made in Bloom's memory 
of a night on which he went down to the pantry to get some- 
thing for Molly: "What was it she wanted? The Malaga 
raisins. Before Rudy was born." After the second phrase 
Joyce inserts "Thinking of Spain" ^^ — adding an insight be- 
yond Bloom's mind into that of his wife. 

The additions to this side of Molly in her own thought are 
understandably more numerous. In connection with a con- 
cihatory mission to an employer of Bloom's, she recalls: "he 
gave me a great eye once or twice". For "eye" Joyce sub- 
stitutes "mirada".^^ 

Molly considers the boredom of her existence: "who did 
I get the last letter from O Mrs Dwenn now whatever pos- 
sessed her to write after so many years". Following "years" 
Joyce inserts "to know the recipe I had for olla podrida". 
Then, for the internationally known "olla podrida" Joyce 
substitutes the indigenous "pisto madrileno" ^^ — bringing 
us closer to native Spain. 

Shortly afterward Molly thinks: 

he [Mulvey] wanted to touch mine with his for a moment 
but I wouldnt let him for fear you never know consump- 
tion or leave me with a child that old senant Ines told me 
that one drop even if it got into you at all 


After ''child" Joyce adds ''embarazada".^^ One may suppose 
that Molly has recalled the key word in the old servant's 
admonition, about which we then hear more. 

Molly considers marital relations: ''her husband found it 
out well and if he did can he undo it". After "undo it" Joyce 
inserts "hes coronado anyway whatever he does".^^ 

Bloom's kiss revolts Molly: "pfooh the dirty brutes the 
mere thought is enough of course a woman wants to be em- 
braced 20 times a day almost to make her look young". After 
"enough" Joyce adds "I kiss the feet of you senorita theres 
some sense in that didnt he kiss our halldoor yes he did what 

a madman nobody understands his cracked ideas but me 

Toward the close of her reverie Molly thinks of "the 
Greeks and the jews and those handsome Moors all in white 
like kings and the figtrees in the Alameda gardens". After 
"jews" Joyce adds: 

and the fowl market all clucking and the poor donkeys 
slipping half asleep and the vague fellows in the cloaks 
asleep in the shade on the steps and the big wheels of the 
carts of the bulls 

After "kings", he adds: 

asking you to sit down in their bit of a shop and Ronda 
with the old windows two glancing eyes a lattice hid and 
O that awful deepdown torrent O and the sea the sea 
crimson sometimes like fire and the glorious sunsets ^^ 

In a later galley, after "windows" Joyce inserts "of the 
posadas"; after "hid", "for her lover to kiss the iron and the 
night we stayed the watchman going about serene with his 
lamp".^"^ The straightforward Spanish additions are obvious 
enough. But, as Gilbert has pointed out, Joyce also has 
Molly's Spanish background exert an influence upon her 
English, for "vague" and "serene" are "echoes of common 
Spanish words she used to hear at Gibraltar; vago, a vagrant, 
and sereno, the night-watchman's cry as he goes his rounds, 
'All's well - serenor " ^^ 

The Characterization of Molly Bloom 95 

Another important aspect of Molly is her limited intel- 
lectual equipment. Her ignorance transpires chiefly in her 
beliefs and in her language. Again and again her mind 
throws out popular superstitions. She recalls the death of 
Gardner, to whom she had given a ring which had been 
presented to her ''for luck" by Mulvey: "but they [the Boers] 
were well beaten all the same as if it brought its bad luck 
with it still it must have been pure 16 carrot gold because it 
was very heavy". After ''with it" Joyce adds "like an opal or 

On the chamber pot Molly thinks: "easy O Lord how 
noisy". Following this phrase Joyce adds "I hope theyre 
bubbles on it for a wad of money from some fellow".^^ 

A number of additions reveal Molly's faith in cards. With 
regard to Stephen Dedalus she suddenly remembers: 

wait by God yes wait yes he was on the cards this morn- 
ing when I laid out the deck a young stranger you met 
before I thought it meant him but hes no chicken nor a 
stranger either didnt I dream something too yes there was 
something about poetry in it 

After "deck" Joyce points up Molly's hope by inserting 
"union with". After the first "stranger" he adds "neither 
dark nor fair"; after "either": 

besides my face was turned the other way what was the 
7th after that the 10 of spades for a journey by land then 
there was a letter on its way and scandals too the 3 queens 
and the 8 of diamonds for a rise in society yes wait it all 
came out and 2 red 8s for new garments look at that and ^^ 

Molly is still thinking of Stephen: "if I can only get in 
with a handsome young poet at my age". After "age" Joyce 
inserts "111 throw them the 1st thing in the morning till I 
see if the wishcard comes out or 111 try pairing the lady her- 
self and see if he comes out".^^ 

Concerning her husband Molly thinks: "so well he may 
sleep and sigh the great suggester and Im to be slooching 
around down in the kitchen to get his lordship his break- 
fast". After "suggester" Joyce adds "if he knew how he came 


out on the cards a dark man in some perplexity between 2 ys 
too in prison for Lord knows what he does that I don't 
know". 100 

The superstitiousness of what rehgion has adhered to 
Molly, is exemplified by her comment on an act of faith, 
part of an addition in typescript: ''the candle I Ht that 
evening in Whitefriars' street chapel for the month of May 
see it brought its luck".^^^ Immediately before this thought, 
in proof, Molly recalls the thunderclap which had disturbed 
her sleep earlier: ''till that thunder woke me up as if the 
world was coming to an end God be merciful to us I thought 
the heavens were coming down about us when I blessed 
myself and said a Hail Mary". After "about us" Joyce 
inserts "to punish us".^^^ Forgetting the natural attitude 
which she usually maintains toward sex, Molly, in the mo- 
ment of fear, tries to appease the wrathful thundergod. 

Later, she considers: 

atheists or whatever they call themselves go and wash the 
cobbles off themselves first then they go howling for the 
priest and they dying and why why because theyre afraid 

After "afraid" Joyce adds "of hell on account of their bad 

As I have said, Molly's language, also, betrays her ig- 
norance. To begin with, it abounds in error. While Joyce 
corrected the grammar of her Italian prototype, he brought 
Molly closer to her model by introducing mistakes. 

When Molly remembers, "that thunder woke me up as if 
the world were coming to an end", Joyce changes "were" to 

Molly recalls Bloom's behavior when she once denied a 
desire of his: "he slept on the floor half the night naked and 
wouldnt eat any breakfast or speak a word". After "naked" 
Joyce introduces a confusion of tenses difficult to match even 
in Molly's speech: "the way the jews used when somebody 
dies belonged to them".^^^ 

The Characterization of Molly Bloom 97 

The memory of Boylan's behavior, in a passage part of 
which I have aheady cited, vexes Molly: "no that's no way 
for him has he no manners nor no refinement in his nature". 
Joyce adds one barbarism to another by inserting, after ''nor 
no refinement", ''nor nothing".^^^ Later, he 'completes' the 
negation by inserting "no" between "nor" and "nothing".^^^ 

Molly's limited command of the idiom helps explain her 
difficulty with "Unusual polysyllables of foreign origin". ^^^ 
In manuscript Joyce adds the thought, concerning letters of 
condolence, "your sad bereavement symphathy I always make 
that mistake and newphew with you in".^^^ A line runs 
through the first "h" in "symphathy" and another through 
the first "w" in "newphew". The author, however, did not 
indicate his intention clearly enough, for in proof the addi- 
tion reads: "your sad bereavement sympathy I always make 
that mistake and nephew with you in". For the "p" in 
"sympathy" Joyce therefore substitutes "ph" with a line 
through the "h", writing beside it the instruction "(repro- 
duisez ainsi)". Then, for the first "e" in "nephew" he sub- 
stitutes "ew" with a line through the "w", repeating his in- 
struction and at the same time changing "you" to "2 double 
yous" — a more likely error.^^^ In other words, he has re- 
stored visual images as they run through Molly's mind, and, 
through them, the process of her corrections.^^^ 

Soon afterward, again in manuscript, while Molly con- 
siders a correspondence with Boylan, Joyce adds a thought 
in part of which she gropes for a polysyllable: 

I could write the answer in bed to let him imagine me 
short just a few words not those long crossed letters Floey 
Dillon used to write to the fellow that jilted her out of 
the ladies' letterwriter acting with precipat precip itancy 
with equal candour the greatest earthly happiness answer 
to a gentleman's proposal affirmatively ^^^ 

In proof, besides a few irrelevant changes, the groping phrase 
has become "precipit precipitancy". After "letterwriter" 
Joyce adds "when I told her to say a few simple words he 


could twist how he hked not".^^^ Molly would convert her 
linguistic weakness into lovers' strategy. 

From Gibraltar days she recalls Mrs. Rubio, who domi- 
neered over her "because I didnt run into mass often enough 
in Santa Maria to please her with all her miracles of the 
saints and the sun dancing 3 times on Easter Sunday morn- 
ing". After "morning" Joyce adds "and when the priest was 
going by with the Vatican to the dying blessing herself for 
his Majestad".ii4 

Joyce gives Molly an awareness of her intellectual limita- 
tions when she thinks about her daughter: "such an idea 
for him to send the girl down there to learn to take photo- 
graphs only hed do a thing like that". After "photographs" 
Joyce adds "on account of his grandfather instead of send- 
ing her to Skerry's academy where shed have to learn not like 
me".^^^ Later, after "me" he inserts "getting all Is at 

No wonder, then, that Molly's general level of speech lies 
among the lower reaches of English usage. To heighten this 
effect Joyce puts into her mouth a considerable number of 
colloquialisms. One addition, the final form of which I have 
already cited, shows Joyce at work colloquializing Molly's 
expression: "yes thatd be awfully jolly" began as "yes that 
would be awfully jolly". ^^^ 

Impatient of possible exposure during her projected trip 
to Belfast with Boylan, Molly exclaims: "O let them all go 
and smother themselves for all I care". Joyce replaces the 
second "all" with "the fat lof'.i^s 

The coming on of menstruation gives Molly something 
further to exclaim about: "O let me up out of this pooh". 
After "O" Joyce inserts "Jamesy".^^^ 

Molly considers: "I think 111 cut all this hair off me there 
scalding me I might look like a young girl". After "girl" Joyce 
adds "wouldnt he get the takein the next time he turned up 
my clothes Id give anything to watch his face". Then Joyce 
replaces "takein" with "great suckin", and after "clothes" he 
adds "on me".i2o 

The Characterization of Molly Bloom 99 

But Joyce does not rest content with a highly colloquial 
idiom for Molly. As a Dubliner who has not been much 
standardized by education, she would also be likely to show 
the influence of dialect upon her speech. Therefore, Joyce 
gives her a good proportion of dialect usage. 

Thus, when Molly thinks concerning Bloom, ''of course 
he prefers hanging about the house", Joyce changes ''hang- 
ing" to "plottering".i2i 

In a context one version of which I treated earlier, Molly 
thinks: "Kathleen Kearney and her lot of squealers they'd 
die down dead if they ever got a chance of walking down 
the Alameda on an officer's arm like me on the bandnight". 
After "squealers" Joyce adds ''shitting around talking about 
politics they know as much about as my backside anything 
in the world to make themselves someway interesting". ^^2 

On the chamber pot Molly thinks: "I remember one time 
I could do it out straight whisthng like a man almost". Joyce 
replaces "do" with "scout".^^^ 

Concerning a gynecologist Molly remembers: "still I liked 
him when he sat down to write the thing out frowning so 
severe his nose intelligent like that you be damned you lying 
bitch". For "bitch" Joyce substitutes "strap''.^^^ 

Molly returns to the subject of her latest adultery: "111 
let him [Bloom] know if thats what he wanted that his wife 
is fucked and damn well fucked too not by him 5 or 6 times 
running". For "running" Joyce substitutes "handrun- 

Another important aspect of Molly, in which she contrasts 
with her mild husband, is her irritability. Her frustration 
as Mrs. Bloom, her husband's ordering of breakfast, and the 
inception of menstruation less than four days before Boylan 
is next to arrive, add fuel to a temperamental petulance. Her 
speech, as a result, is full of twitching impatiences, a number 
of which Joyce introduces in revision. 

Suspecting that Bloom has spent the evening with another 
woman, Molly recalls his flirtation with a servant: "I couldn't 
even touch him if I thought he was with a dirty liar and 


sloven like that one". After ''dirty" Joyce adds '*bare- 

About the trip to Belfast Molly thinks: "O I suppose 
there'll be the usual idiots of men gaping at us". Following 
''us", in manuscript, Joyce adds "with their eyes as stupid 
as ever they can be".^^^ In proof, after "can" he inserts "pos- 

Molly considers Bloom's late return: "well thats a nice 
hour for him to be coming home at to anybody". After 
"hour" Joyce charges Molly's grievance more highly by in- 
serting "of the night".i29 

In one passage, Joyce makes alterations which seem to be 
intended to render a changing attitude. Molly recalls the 
boredom of Gibraltar: "as bad as now with the hands hang- 
ing off me looking out of the window if there was a nice 
fellow even in the opposite house the meat and the coalmans 
bell". After "house" Joyce adds: 

that idiot medical in Holies street the nurse was after 
when I put on my gloves and hat at the window to show 
I was going out not a notion what I meant arent they 
thick youd want to put it up on a big poster for them not 
even if you shake their hands twice where does their great 
intelligence come in Id like to know 

Then, as if realizing that Molly's first thought of a man she 
had desired would be likely to be favorable, Joyce deletes 
"idiot". And after "twice" he adds "he didnt recognize me 
either outside Westland row chapel".^^^ As Molly dwells 
on the subject, she becomes exasperated. In a later galley, 
Joyce introduces more scorn with more signs: after "thick" 
he adds "never understand what you say even"; he deletes 
"their" before "hands", and after "twice" adds "with the 
left"; after "either" he adds "when I half frowned at him"; 
and after "know", the final fling: "grey matter they have it 
all in their tail if you ask me".^^^ 

From such general irritability it is only a step to temper. 

The Characterization of Molly Bloom loi 

In revising, Joyce heightens Molly's inflammability. She 
considers a pair of stockings that are laddered after one 
day's wear: **I could have brought them back to Sparrows 
this morning and made them change them only not to run 
the risk of walking into him and ruining the whole thing". 
For ''made them" Joyce substitutes "kick up a row and make 
that one", and after "not to" he adds "upset myself and".^^^ 

In private Molly does not curb her temper. She remembers 
her daughter's refusal to go on an errand: "till I gave her a 
damn fine crack across the ear for herself she had me that 
exasperated that was the last time she turned on the tear- 
trap". In manuscript, after "herself" Joyce adds "take that 
for answering me like that".^^^ In proof, to heighten Molly's 
anger, he alters "a" to "2" and "crack" to "cracks". After 
"like that" he adds "and that for your impudence"; after 
"exasperated", "of course because she has nobody to com- 
mand her as she said herself well if he doesn't correct her 
faith I will".^^^ In a later galley, after "course" he inserts 
an explanation for Molly's violence: "I was badtempered too 
because how was it I didnt sleep the night before cheese I 
ate was it and I told her over and over again not to leave 
knives crossed like that".^^^ In a still later galley, further 
extenuation is added: between "course" and "I" Joyce inserts 
"contradicting", and after "how was it" he adds "there was 
a weed in the tea or".^^^ But, explaining or no explaining, 
Molly is easily angered. 

Occasionally, her temper goads her to cruelty. She recalls 
a boatride on which Bloom proved a wretched oarsman: "in 
his flannel trousers Id like to have tattered them down off 
him before all the people and give him what that one calls 
flagellate do him all the good in the world". Molly may not 
be at home with the 'jawbreaker,' but Joyce makes certain 
that she finds the action it represents congenial: after "flagel- 
late" he adds "till he was black and blue".^^^ 

Incensed at the thought of her husband's unsatisfying at- 
tentions, Molly threatens: "I'll make him do it again if he 


doesn't mind himself I wonder was it her Josie". After ''him- 
self" Joyce adds ''and sleep down in the coalcellar''.^^^ Later, 
after "coalcellar" he adds "with the blackbeetles^.i^^ Still 
later, he deletes "down" after "sleep" to introduce a further 
refinement before "sleep": "lock him down to".^*^ 

In addition to temper, Molly reveals a streak of spiteful- 
ness. About her affair with Bartell d'Arcy, she thinks: "Fll 
tell him [Bloom] about that some day not now and surprise 
him he thinks nothing can happen without him knowing". 
After "surprise him" Joyce adds "ay and 111 take him there 
and show the very place too".^^^ Later, between "too" and 
"he" Joyce inserts "so now there you are".^*^ Still later, be- 
tween "are" and "he" Joyce adds "like it or lump it".^*^ 

Molly makes plans for the concert: "yes by God 111 get 
that big fan mended". After "mended" Joyce adds "make 
them ["Kathleen Kearney and her lot of squealers"] burst 
with envy". 14* 

In an insertion already cited, Molly explains this whole 
side of her character by a generalization: "I suppose its all 
the troubles we have makes us so snappy".^*^ 

One of the most important of Molly's "troubles" I have 
reserved for lengthier treatment. Throughout her reverie 
runs the motif of fretting poverty. Directly and indirectly she 
reveals the restrictions which her husband's improvidence 
has placed upon her. She remembers: "when I was in the dbc 
with Poldy laughing and trying to listen I was waggling my 
foot". After "foot" Joyce adds "we both ordered 2 teas and 
plain bread and butter".^*^ Somewhat later, she reverts to 
the subject: "always hanging out of them for money in a 
restaurant we have to be thankful for our cup of tea even". 
In manuscript, after "even" Joyce adds "to be noticed''.^*"^ 
In typescript, the passage concludes "for our cup of tea as a 
great compliment to be noticed", and before "cup" Joyce 
inserts "mangy". ^^^ In proof, after "restaurant" Joyce adds 
"for the bit you put down your throat"; after "tea", the be- 
httling Anglo-Irish "itself.^^^ 

The Characterization of Molly Bloom 103 

Molly, in manuscript, considers her wardrobe: 

and the four paltry handkerchiefs about 6/- in all sure 
you can't get on in this world without clothes the men 
won't look at you and women try to walk on you for the 
four years more I have of life up to 35 

Joyce replaces ''clothes" with ''style I've no clothes at all".^^^ 
In proof, the passage has become: 

and the four paltry handkerchiefs about 6/- in all sure 
you can't get on in this world without style all going in 
food and rent when I get it I'll lash it around if I buy a 
pair of old brogues itself do you like new those new shoes 
yes how much were they I've no clothes at all cutting up 
an old hat and patching up the other the men won't 
look at you and women try to walk on you for the four 
years more I have of life up to 35 

After "around" Joyce adds "I tell you in fine style I always 
want to throw a handful of tea into the pot measuring and 
mincing".^5i In a later galley, after "at all" he adds "the 
brown costume and the skirt and jacket and the one at the 
cleaners 3 whats that for any woman".^^^ Still later, he makes 
Molly poverty-conscious for a further reason: after "on you" 
in a third galley he adds "because they know youve no man 
then",i^3 and after "then" in a fourth he inserts "with all the 
things getting dearer every day".^^^ 

When Molly thinks, "I havent even a decent nightdress", 
Joyce emphasizes her irritation by changing "a" to "one".^^^ 

Molly feels "some wind in me better go easy not wake him 
have him at it again slobbering after washing every bit of 
myself back belly and sides". Following "sides" Joyce adds "if 
we had even a bath itself".^^^ 

About menstruation Molly thinks: "isnt it simply sicken- 
ing that night it came on me like that the one time we were 
in a box that Michael Gunn gave him". Joyce again em- 
phasizes Molly's awareness by adding, after "one", "and 


Looking back upon her married life, Molly observes: *'God 
here we are as bad as ever after sixteen years every time 
were just getting on right something happens". After "years" 
Joyce points up the chronic poverty of the Blooms by adding 
"how many houses were we in at all".^^^ At a later stage, 
after "all", he inserts a travelogue of impecuniosity: 

Raymond terrace and Ontario terrace and Lombard street 
and Holies street and he goes about whistling every time 
were on the run again his huguenots or the frogs march and 
then the City Arms hotel worse and worse says Warden 
Daly that charming place on the landing always somebody 
inside praying then leaving all their stinks after them al- 
ways know who was in there last 

Then Joyce completes the account by adding, after the newly 
introduced "march", "pretending to help the men with bur 
4 sticks of furniture".^^^ 

Offsetting Molly's personal and economic frustration is her 
inveterate buoyancy, which is abetted by her talent for sing- 
ing. In revising, Joyce builds up our awareness of this aspect 
of Molly by introducing musical associations.^^^ 

Molly remembers: "when I threw the penny to that lame 
sailor". In typescript, after "sailor" Joyce adds "for England 
home and beauty".^^^ In proof, this musical association be- 
gets another: after "beauty" Joyce adds, appropriately, 
"when I was whistling there is a charming girl I love".^^^ 

Molly told her first lover that she was engaged "to the 
son of a Spanish nobleman and he believed that I was to be 
married to him in three years time there's many a true word 
spoken in jest". In typescript, after "nobleman" Joyce adds 
"named Don Miguel de la Flora", and after "jest" "the 
flowers that bloom in the spring trala".^^^ But in proof he 
replaces the snatch with "there is a flower that bloometh" ^^"^ 
— a happier association, since in the course of her reverie 
Molly recalls two other airs by the same composer, one from 
the same work as the air here added.^^^ 

Thoughts on poetry evoke a song: 

The Characterization of Molly Bloom 105 

where softly sighs of love the light guitar where poetry is 
in the air the blue sea and the moon shining so beauti- 
fully coming back on the nightboat from Tarifa the guitar 
that fellow played was so expressive will ever go back 
there again all new faces two glancing eyes a lattice hid 
ni sing that for him [Stephen] they're my eyes if he's any- 
thing of a poet two eyes as softly bright as love's young 
star aren't those beautiful words as love's young star 

Joyce alters the second "softly" to "darkly" ^^^ and, in a later 
galley, the first "young" to "own".^^^ The reasons for these 
changes are implicit in the words of the song, In Old Madrid, 
which begins: ''Long years ago in old Madrid, Where softly 
sighs of love the light guitar. Two sparkling eyes, a lattice 
hid. Two eyes as darkly bright as love's own star!" ^^^ In the 
earlier galley, Joyce corrects the second of three inac- 
curacies,^^^ a confusion the source of which lies before us; 
in the later galley, by correcting the first specimen of the 
third inaccuracy, he causes Molly's mind to move into error. 

Bloom crowds the bed, and Molly, irritated, breaks out: 
"O move over your big carcass out of that for the love of 
Mike so well he may sleep". After "Mike" Joyce adds "listen 
to him the winds that waft my sighs to thee".^'^^ 

Memories of Gibraltar again evoke In Old Madrid. Molly 
recalls "those handsome Moors all in white like kings and 
the figtrees in the Alameda gardens". Part of an insertion 
after "kings", as I have shown in another connection, is 
"two glancing eyes a lattice hid".^^^ 

Besides presenting Molly, the long monologue with which 
Ulysses closes serves another and multiple characterizing 
purpose. Through Molly's eyes we gain new information 
and, more importantly, a new 'slant,' that of a woman, on 
many of her fellow characters. Chief among these, under- 
standably, is her husband. As her reverie unfolds, we see 
again, but this time through the eyes of his faithless, dis- 
paraging, yet withal devoted wife, many of the traits of 
Bloom which I have discussed elsewhere.^^^ Concerning: the 
monologue Joyce wrote to Budgen, then in the British con- 


sular service, "It is the indispensable countersign to Bloom's 
passport to eternity." ^^^ 

In revising, Joyce augments the number of points at which 
Molly's thought meets our memory of the Bloom we have 
come to know during the preceding seventeen hours. In the 
penultimate episode, between a list of instances of Molly's 
"deficient mental development" and a succeeding question 
as to how Bloom had attempted to remedy her ignorance, 
Joyce makes a preparatory interpolation: 

What compensated in the false balance of her intelli- 
gence for these and such deficiencies of judgment regard- 
ing persons, places and things? 

The false apparent parallelism of all perpendicular arms 
of all balances, true by construction. The counterbalance 
of her proficiency of judgment regarding one person, 
proved true by experiment.^^* 

Who the person may be, it is superfluous to ask. In the final 
episode, the interpolation is borne out. 

The thrifty temperance which Bloom practiced during the 
day is echoed in additions. Molly thinks: "he has sense 
enough not to squander every penny piece he earns down 
their gullets goodfornothings". After "gullets" Joyce inserts 
"and looks after his wife and family".^^^ 

Bloom's curiosity inspires additions. Molly considers 

a picnic suppose we all gave 5/ each and or let him pay it 
and invite some other woman for him who Mrs Fleming 
and drove out to the furry glen or the strawberry beds 
with some cold veal and ham mixed sandwiches 

After "beds" Joyce adds "wed have him examining all the 
horses toenails first no not with Boylan there yes". Then, 
after "first" he adds further "like he does with the letters".^^^ 
One of Molly's memories of Bloom's courtship reminds 
us, in an insertion already cited, of his didactic streak: "ex- 
plaining and rigmaroling about religion and persecution he 
wont let you enjoy anything naturally". ^^^ Another gibe at 
this trait of Bloom's is introduced somewhat later. Molly 

The Characterization of Molly Bloom 107 

has just expressed her discomfort at Bloom's crowding of the 
bed: "so well he may sleep and Im to be slooching around 
down in the kitchen to get his lordship his breakfast". After 
"sleep" Joyce adds "and sigh the great suggester".^^^ 

The humanitarian in Bloom wins Molly's affection. In 
manuscript, Joyce adds the thought "still I like that in him 
polite to old women like that".^^^ In typescript, after the 
second "that" he inserts "and waiters".^^^ In proof, after 
"waiters" he introduces "and beggars too but not always".^^^ 
In a later proof, after "too" he adds "hes not proud out of 

Bloom's mild, unpugnacious disposition, so strongly con- 
trasted with his wife's, comes out in Molly's memory of a 
conjugal row: "he began it not me when he said about Our 
Lord being a carpenter and the first socialist still he knows a 
lot of mixed up things". After "socialist" Joyce adds "he 
annoyed so much I couldnt put him into a temper". ^^^ 

Bloom's considerateness, now directed toward Molly, 
elicits her gratitude. She thinks: 

anyhow I hope hes not going to get in with those medicals 
leading him astray to imagine hes young again coming in 
waking me up at 2 in the morning it must be if not more 
what do they find to gabber about all night 

As if realizing that it would be unlike Bloom to disturb any- 
one, Joyce deletes "waking me up", and following "more" 
adds "still he had the manners not to wake me".^^* 

After Molly thinks that, if Bloom should fall seriously 
ill, it would be better for him to go to a hospital, she ob- 
serves: "but I suppose I'd have to dring it into him for a 
month". Following "month" Joyce introduces the philanderer 
in Bloom: "yes and then wed have a hospital nurse next 
thing on the carpet or a nun maybe like the photo he has 
shes as much as Im not". Then after "carpet" Joyce adds 
further "have him staying there till they throw him out"; 
before "photo", "smutt/'.^^s 

Like the narrator of the Cyclops episode, whose words she 


echoes/^^ Molly considers Bloom a cotquean: "of course he 
prefers plottering about the house so you cant stir with him 
any side what's your programme today". After "today" Joyce 
adds "I wish hed even smoke a pipe like father to get the 
smell of a man".^^'^ 

Bloom is not man enough for Molly, not only on the 
marriage couch and about the house, but also in business. 
Thus far, in the changes we have watched Joyce make, Molly 
has only corroborated traits in her husband which we al- 
ready know. But she also gives us a new view of the "great 
Suggester" as a chronic bungler. Shortly after the thought 
"I hate an unlucky man" Molly considers that Boylan "must 
have been a bit late because it was % after 3 when I saw the 
2 Dedalus girls coming from school". After "school" Joyce 
adds "I never know the time even that watch he [Bloom] 
gave me never seems to go properly Id want to get it looked 

Molly lacks confidence in Bloom as an agent: "I told him 
get that [face lotion] made up in the same place and dont 
forget it God only knows whether he did 111 know by the 
bottle anyway". After "did" Joyce adds "after all I said to 
him". ^^^ Later, Joyce goes back to prepare for this change 
by inserting, after "told him", "over and over again".^^^ 

Again, through Molly's eyes we see the Bloom who is 
full of business schemes that never come off: "musical 
academy he was going to make like all the things he told 
father he was going to do and me but I saw through him". 
In manuscript, after "make" Joyce inserts "on the first floor 
drawingroom with a brassplate".^^^ In proof, after "brass- 
plate" he adds "or Blooms private hotel he suggested". ^^^ In 
a later proof, after "suggested" he adds further "go and ruin 
himself altogether the way his father did down in Ennis".^^^ 

Molly is considering the possibility of an affair with 

itll be a change the Lord knows to have an intelligent 
person to talk to about yourself not always hstening to 

The Characterization of Molly Bloom 109 

him and Billy Prescotts ad and Keyess ad and Tom the 
Devils ad Im sure hes very distinguished 

After the last ''ad" Joyce inserts a generalization which Molly 
may claim is based upon experience: "then if anything goes 
wrong in their business we have to suffer". ^^* 

Joyce does not allow us to forget that no character knows 
Bloom as thoroughly as does his wife. She thinks: ''when hes 
hke that he cant keep a thing back". After "back" Joyce in- 
serts "I know every turn in him".^^^ 

Molly, as I have said, gives us her view of other characters 
as well as of her husband. She recalls a former confessor: 

when I used to go to Father Corrigan he touched me 
father and what harm if he did where and I said on the 
canal bank hke a fool but whereabouts on your person 
on the leg behind high up was it yes rather high up was it 
where you sit down yes O Lord couldnt he say bottom 
right out and have done with it what has that got to do with 
it and did you whatever way he put it I forget no father and 
I always think of the real father what did he want to know 
for when I already confessed it to God he had a nice fat 
hand the palm moist always I wouldn't mind feeling it 
neither would he Id say by his bullneck in his horsecollar 

Then, as in the case of Father Conmee, Joyce introduces 
the priestly aura, by adding, after "person", "my child".^^^ 
The thought of Lenehan evokes a memory: 

that sponger he was making free with me after the Glen- 
cree dinner coming back that long joult over the feather- 
bed mountain I first noticed him at dessert when I was 
cracking the nuts with my teeth 

After "mountain" Joyce inserts "after the lord Mayor look- 
ing at me with his dirty eyes Val Dillon".!^^ And later, after 
"Dillon" he adds "that big heathen".i98 

Following Molly's thought of Dignam as a "comical little 
teetotum", Joyce inserts "always stuck up in some pub 
corner and her or her son waiting Bill Bailey won't you please 
come home what men".^^^ 


Yet, despite the importance of Molly's reverie to the 
totality of our conception of her fellow characters, ''it is ab- 
surd," as one critic has written, ''to take the . . . final chap- 
ter as a submission of the whole narrative to Molly's . . . 
stream of consciousness. We as readers do the summing up, 
surely, even if we do it with the aid of her necessary final 
information." ^oo 


Joyce's revisions represent almost exclusively a process of 
elaboration. Great numbers of additions gravitate into pat- 
terned constellations of purpose and method, and innumera- 
ble details, in the final text as well as in the additions, be- 
come luminous with meaning. 

In improving upon his characters, Joyce evinces a hundred- 
eyed alertness to the possibilities of fuller and more im- 
mediate realization. 

Upon Molly Bloom, his second great, and his concluding, 
creation in Ulysses^ Joyce lavishes effort, successfully, to pro- 
duce a portrait of the eternal feminine. Her physique, her 
sexuality, her acceptance of the body, her ambivalent atti- 
tude toward the male, her technique of attraction, the 
femininity of her mind, her perceptiveness in sexual matters — 
all these are steadily built up. Being, besides Woman, a 
woman, Molly grows in the process of revision as the daugh- 
ter of a soldier; as one whose mind is partly Spanish in con- 
tent; whose intellectual equipment, as her beliefs and her 
use of language indicate, is limited; whose short temper, 
further abbreviated by poverty, is offset by a buoyancy which 
is abetted by her talent for singing; whose views on her 
fellow characters, her husband in particular, serve to round 
out our conception of the microcosm that was Dublin on 
June 16, 1904. 

The Characterization of Molly Bloom iii 

Briefly, the revisions afford a direct view into the mind of 
Joyce in the process of creation. This insight, fascinating in 
itself as an adventure in psychological analysis, yields two 
contributions of critical importance. By making us aware of 
fresh and dominant relationships, it enables us to effect a 
fuller synthesis in our apprehension of the finished work of 
art. By making clearer the kinship of that work with Joyce's 
earlier and later works, it enables us to appraise more justly 
Joyce's total achievement. 


Editions of Ulysses 

s UlysseSy Paris, Shakespeare and Co., February, 1922. 

The first edition, set up from the proof sheets treated 
in the present study. 

EP Ulysses, published for The Egoist Press, London, by 
John Rodker, Paris, October, 1922. All citations from 
this the first English edition (struck off from the 
original plates) take account of the seven pages of 
errata laid in. 

S4 Ulysses, Paris, Shakespeare and Co., fourth printing, 
January, 1924. All citations from this edition take ac- 
count of the list of "Additional corrections" on pp. 

s6 Ulysses, Paris, Shakespeare and Co., sixth printing, 
August, 1925. All citations from this edition take ac- 
count of the hst of "Additional corrections" on pp. 
733-36. Both the text and the list, in all passages for 
which I cite this edition, are identical with those of 54. 

S9 Ulysses, Paris, Shakespeare and Co., ninth printing, 
May, 1927. This edition follows that of May, 1926, for 
which the type was entirely reset. The "Additional 
corrections" mentioned under 54 and s6 were, with 
some exceptions, incorporated. 


U UlysseSj New York, Random House, sixth printing, 
February, 1934. This edition is based upon a corrupt 
pirated text. The pubhshers included it in the Mod- 
ern Library — after the exposure of their mistake. 
Since, however, it is the only edition generally availa- 
ble to American readers, I am compelled to use it for 
citation from the final text. Whenever, in collating 
editions, I mention U, I do so for the convenience of 
the reader, not for authority. [N.B. The 1961 printing, 
which describes itself as a "new edition, corrected 
AND RESET," appeared too late for consideration 

In citing from Ulysses, whatever the edition, for the 
sake of complete accuracy, I give all opening and 
closing punctuation marks as in the text quoted and 
place outside the quotations all opening and closing 
punctuation marks that are mine. In citing the Ran- 
dom House edition, I refer to it as U, following it 
directly with the page number, e.g., U5. 

OP Ulysses, 2 vols., Hamburg-Paris-Bologna, Odyssey 
Press, third impression, August, 1935. The first im- 
pression of this edition called itself the "definitive 
standard edition . . . specially revised, at the author's 
request, by Stuart Gilberts In the second impression, 
the text was made more accurate. For the superiority 
of the third impression to the first two, see J. F. 
Spoerri, "The Odyssey Press Edition of James Joyce's 
'Ulysses,' " Papers of the Bibliographical Society of 
America, l (Second Quarter, 1956), 195-98. 

I owe some of the information used above to R. F. Roberts, 
"Bibliographical Notes on James Joyce's 'Ulysses,' " Colo- 
phon, New Series, i (Spring, 1936), 565-79. 

Manuscript and Other Materials 

B Manuscripts of parts of Ulysses exhibited at the 
Librairie La Hune, Paris, in 1949 and acquired by the 

The Characterization of Molly Bloom 113 

Lockwood Memorial Library of the University of Buf- 
falo. Numbers following the symbol b will refer to 
entries in the La Hune catalogue James Joyce: sa vie, 
son oeuvre, son rayonnement (Paris, 1949), items 252- 
53, 255-59. (Item 254 was reportedly lost in transit 
between Paris and Buffalo.) These manuscripts are 
also described in John }. Slocum and Herbert Gaboon, 
A Bibliography of James Joyce [1882-ig^i] (New 
Haven, 1953), E5b. 

H Proof sheets of Ulysses described by Slocum and Ga- 
boon, E5f, quoting the private catalogue of Edward 
W. Titus as follows: ''Gomplete and final proofs of 
the first edition of this stupendous work with the 
author's profuse autograph corrections, emendations 
and additions exceeding sometimes 160 words on a 
single page. These important additions are not found 
in the manuscript of the work, that had been the 
sensation of the memorable Quinn Sale in 1924." 
Made available to me by Mr. T. E. Hanley and now 
in the University of Texas Library. 

I Miles L. Hanley and others. Word Index to James 

Joyce's Ulysses (Madison, Wisconsin, 1937). A hst of 
"Errata in Random House Edition" occurs on pp. 

R Manuscript of Ulysses made available to me by the 
late A. S. W. Rosenbach and now in the Rosenbach 
Foundation. Described in Slocum and Gaboon, E5a, 
quoting the catalogue of the Quinn sale, no. 4936: 
''Original autograph manuscript of 'Ulysses,' written 
on over 1200 pages." — etc. 

v^ Proof sheets of Ulysses made available to me by Miss 
Marian G. Willard and now in the Houghton Library' 
of Harvard University. Miss Sylvia Beach, publisher of 
the first edition of Ulysses, has described this material 


as follows: "A complete set, and several incomplete 
sets of the proofs abundantly corrected and added to 
by the author. About 600 pages contain 5 to 10 lines 
of autograph corrections, others are almost completely 
covered with manuscript. 

"These proofs show the important changes that 
James Joyces [sic] made in his < Ulysses > while it was 
printing, and his manner of continually adding text 
to successive sets of proofs up to the very moment 
before going to press." — Catalogue of a Collection 
Containing Manuscripts d* Rare Editions of James 
Joyce . . . (Paris, 1935), p. 3. 

Miss Willard numbered the galleys from 1 to 212. 
The pagination of the galleys underwent so many 
changes that it seems best to refer to the pages of 
each galley by a fresh count. A specimen reference 
follows: wi87:4 indicates galley numbered 187, 
fourth page. 


1. Herbert Gorman, James Joyce [New York, 1948], p. 281, 
n. 1. For more on models for Molly, see Richard Ellmann, James 
Joyce (New York, 1959), pp. 353, 386-89. 

2. U63. 

3. Cf. U64: "The same young eyes." (echoed, after a 'Span- 
ish' thought, on p. 375: ''sehorita young eyes"); p. 273: "Big 
Spanishy eyes."; p. 367: "That's where Molly can knock spots 
off them. It is the blood of the south. Moorish. Also the form, 
the figure."; p. 371: "Moorish eyes."; p. 748: "Ive my mothers 
eyes and figure anyhow he always said" (part of an addition 
in h). 

4. U222. 

5. Cf. U273: "Her wavyavyeavyheavyeavyevyevy hair"; p. 375: 
"black hair". 

6. Cf. U91: "Body getting a bit softy. . . . But the shape is 
there. The shape is there still. Shoulders. Hips. Plump." 

The Characterization of Molly Bloom 115 

7. Cf. U715: "a pair of outsize ladies' drawers of India mull, 
cut on generous lines/'. 

8. Cf. U621: "She has the Spanish type. Quite dark, regular 
brunette, black." 

9. U636. 10. U83; W2i:7. 11. U365; wio5:7. 

12. U728-29; wi84:5. 

13. U740-41; wi87:6-7. 

14. Frank Budgen, James Joyce and the Making of ulysses 
(New York, 1934), p. 266. 

15. U730; wi84:6. 16. U756; W202:2. 

17. U756; W20o:2. The present addition and the last one 
were probably inspired by the "only natural weakness" which 
precedes them on the same page. 

18. U762; W20o:7. The present addition is introduced 
shortly after "it didnt make me blush why should it either its 
only nature" (p. 762) and shortly before "after that hed kiss 
anything unnatural" (ibid.). 

In wi96:8 Joyce adds "as if the one nature gave wasnt enough 
for anybody" (U753). 

19. U725; wi82:3. 

20. U736; wi9i:3. U's "any any fool" is an erratum; cf. h, 

S, OP. 

21. U765; W204:8. He deletes the apostrophe in W202:8. 

22. U757; W2oo:3. Then Joyce changes "they havent pocket" 
to "all their 20 pockets aren't" (for comment, see below, n. 68), 
and after "them" he adds "even". (He deletes the apostrophe 
in H.) 

I corrects U's "I'll to "111." Cf. h, s, op. 

23. U759; W202:4. For an addition made after "not good of 
me" in W20o:5, see above, p. 90. 

24. U727; wi84:4. The rest of the text is built up in wi85:5. 

25. U734; wi92:2. He also deletes the apostrophe. 

26. U739; wi 87 15-6. The record of Molly's recent desire is 
also further testimony regarding her technique. At least once 
before Molly had given her eyes "that look", with far-reaching 
consequences. Cf. U173: "Flowers her eyes were, take me, will- 
ing eyes."; p. 768: "then I asked him with my eyes to ask again". 

27. U758; W20i:3. He also deletes the apostrophes. 

28. W203:3. 29. U764; W202:7. 30. h. 



31. U725; R. Joyce deletes the apostrophe in wi84:3. 

32. Made available to me by Mr. R. F. Roberts. To be re- 
ferred to hereafter as Roberts typescript. 

33. wi84:3. In wi85:3 Joyce inserts *ld" before "let". 

34. U728; R. In wi85:5 he changes "one" to "1" and deletes 
the apostrophe in "we'll". 

35. wi82:5. 36. H. 37. U728; wi83:5. 
38. U730; Roberts typescript. 39. h. 

40. U741; wi87:7. He also uncapitalizes "Shadow". In h 
he deletes the apostrophe. 

For more of Molly's strategy in winning Bloom, see especially 
her account of his proposal (U767-68). 

41. U755; W20i:i. 42. W200:i. 

43. H. Joyce added "where he oughtnt to be" between "busy" 
and "he" in W202:i. 

U's omission of "he" between "be" and "never" is an er- 
ratum. Cf. H, S, OP. 

44. U761; W20o:6. Then, after "bit" Joyce adds further "off". 

45. U748; R. Following "used to be", he adds, as an after- 
thought, "there the whole time". 

He deletes the apostrophe in wi97:4. 

46. U749; wi()'^:^. 47. U748; wi97:4. 

48. U758; vv^202:3. Originally, the insertion was made after 
"songs" and read "and her lowneck dress as she cant attract 
them any other way". Then Joyce moved the addition to its 
present place after "green dress", changing "and her lowneck 
dress" to "with the lowneck". As a result, Mrs. M'Coy's ward- 
robe is reduced to a single unattractive garment — and Molly's 
derogation is complete. 

49. U746; wi96:2. Then, before the newly added "she" 
Joyce inserts "and is quite changed they all do they havent half 
the character a woman has". 

U's "Blackwater" is an erratum. Cf. Roberts typescript, h, 

S, OP. 

50. H. 

51. U761; W2oo:6. Here, also, after "all over him" Joyce 
adds "till he half faints under me"; after "with our", "2". 

52. U715; wi65:6. Apparently Joyce overlooked the repeti- 
tion created by his failure to delete "blue" in the original ver- 

The Characterization of Molly Bloom 1 1 7 

sion before introducing the new text; he makes the deletion in 

53. U761. 54. U734; R. 55. wi9i:2. 

56. U740; wi9i:6. He capitaHzes ''bull" in wi9o:6. 

U's "banderillos" is an erratum; Joyce added "banderilleros" 
in wi87:6. 

57. U741; Roberts typescript. Joyce capitahzes "gorgeous" in 

58. wi9i:7. 59. U745; wi95:2. 

60. U759; W20o:5. The passage I cite, before the present 
change, was part of an addition to W202:4 discussed above, pp. 


For more of Molly's thoughts on clothes, and additions to 
them, see above, p. 103, and below, n. 199. Note also the in- 
fluence of Molly's interest in clothes upon her use of metaphor: 
''not to be always and ever wearing the same old hat" (p. 725); 
"off her head with my castoffs" (p. 758). 

61. U723; wi83:i. U's "I'll" is an erratum; cf. op, i. 

62. U725; Roberts typescript. 

63. w 184 13. He also deletes the apostrophe. In wi85:3 he 
deletes the final letter of "sometimes". 

64. U727; wi84:4. In wi85:5 he changes "of" to "off" (the 
reading of R and Roberts typescript). 

U's "don't" is an erratum; Joyce deleted the apostrophe in 

65. U739; H. 66. U766; W2i2:i. 

67. W2o8:2. 

68. U766; w2o8:2. Another addition to the femininity of 
Molly's thought occurs in a context already cited (above, p. 84). 
In the inserted phrase "deceitful men they havent pocket enough 
for their lies", Joyce gives the thought a peculiarly feminine 
twist by altering "they havent pocket" to "all their 20 pockets 
aren't" (U757; w2oo:3; he deletes the apostrophe in h). 

69. U747. 70. U723; wi84:i. 71. H. 

72. U726; wi79:3. For a later version of this passage, see 
above, p. 109. 

73. U727; R. 

74. wi84:4. After "dozen" he adds "he was in great singing 
voice". He supplies "eaten" after "have" in h. 


75. U728; R. 

76. wi79:5. Here, also, after *'that" Joyce adds "putting it 
on thick"; and after "spoils" he restores a manuscript reading 
(r) by altering "them" (also in Roberts typescript) to "him". 
The "and" before "did" is gone in the typescript. 

Joyce deletes the apostrophe in wi84:5. 

77. wi82:5. 78. U736; R. 

79. wi9o:3. Joyce had substituted "this" for "an" in wi87:3. 
The rest of the text is built up in wi9i:3 and wi92:3. 

Two additions to Molly's insight into sex have been men- 
tioned in other connections: "seduce him I know what boys 
feel with that down on their cheek" (above, p. 86) and "with 
the lowneck as she cant attract them any other way" (above, 
p. 88). 

80. U733; wi87:i. He also deletes the comma after "Bn". 

81. See [W.] Burdett-Coutts, The Sick and Wounded in 
South Africa (London, etc., 1900). 

82. U734; wi92:i. In H Joyce changes "mad" to "bad". 
The historical fever is again introduced, for consistency, when 

Molly thinks about "Gardner going to South Africa where those 
Boers killed him". After "him" Joyce inserts "with their war and 
fever" (U747; wi97:3). 

83. Note also Molly's admiring "Im sure he was brave too" 
(U734; part of an addition in Roberts typescript). 

84. U747; wi94:3. Here, also, after "dead" Joyce adds "off 
their feet". (For comment, see below, n. 120.) The rest of the 
text is built up in wi96:3 and h. 

85. Straightforward military expressions occur frequently in 
Molly's thought. Her personal idiom reflects military influence 
on p. 750: "this big barracks of a place". 

86. U758; W20i:3. The phrase "skirt duty" was added in 
another passage and then eliminated. After Molly's thought 
"and that dyinglooking one", Joyce inserted "that used to be 
doing skirt duty along the south circular" (U723; wi79:i). 
Subsequently, he replaced "that used to be doing skirt duty 
along" with "off" (wi84:i). 

Another contribution to Molly's military expression is "a 
squad of them [children]" (U727), part of an addition in 

The Characterization of Molly Bloom 119 

87. U149; W47:2. The omission of the period after "Spain" 
is Joyce's. 

88. U737; H. mirada = 'look.' 

89. U743; wi92:8. pisto = 'fowl juice for the sick; dish of 
tomatoes and red pepper'; madrileno = 'Madrilenian.' 

90. L^745; wi98:2. {embarazada = 'pregnant.') In point of 
time, this addition precedes the last, as changes made in W198 
are incorporated in W195, which is dated "17 novembre 1921," 
whereas W192 is dated "25 novemb [sic] 1921." 

In H, after "him" Joyce adds "he was awfully put out first". 

91. U762; W2oo:7. {coronado = 'cuckolded.') Another 
change made here was discussed above, p. 84. 

92. U762; W203:6. Molly Englishes a Spanish expression of 
courtesy and respect, besar los pies ('to kiss the feet'). 

93. U767-68; W2io:2. Rondel = 'night patrol.' 

94. W2ii:2 (posadas = 'inns.') The rest of the text is built 
up in W2io:2, W2ii:2, W2i2:2, w2o8: 3 — chronologically or- 
dered — and H. 

95. Stuart Gilbert, fames Joyce* s ulysses: A Study (New 
York, 1952), p. 390, n. 1. Spanish additions mentioned in other 
connections are "Majestad" (above, p. 98) and "Don Poldo 
de la Flora" (below, n. 100). 

96. U747; wi95:3. The guide line from the marginal addition 
to its intended place in the text ran through "still it", and the 
compositor apparently assumed that Joyce intended a deletion, 
for wi96:3, in which the addition is incorporated, has lost "still 

Joyce introduced "carrot" — presumably Molly's conception 
of the word — as part of an addition in r, and the spelling is 
maintained in the Roberts typescript, wi94-wi99(:3), and h. 

s, OP, U: "pearl must", "carat". 

97. U755; W204:i. F. B. Dresslar, Superstition and Educa- 
tion (Berkeley, 1907), p. 14, lists three superstitions concerning 
bubbles on liquids as a sign of money. Molly seems to extend 
the scope of the belief, for Dresslar mentions only tea and coffee. 

98. U760; w2oo:5. Then, after "7th" Joyce adds "card". In h, 
"journey" appears with a capital, and after "ves wait yes" Joyce 
introduces "hold on" — commented on in "Stylistic Realism in 
Joyce's Ulysses/* A James Joyce Miscellany: Second Series, p. 40. 


99. U761; W200:6. 

100. U763; W2oo:8. Then, after "cards" Joyce adds "this 
morning hed have something to sigh for". Here, also, he capi- 
tahzes "suggester". The rest of the text — which includes "Don 
Poldo de la Flora", another bit of Spanish — is introduced in 


For an earlier version of this passage, see above, p. 107. 

101. U726; Roberts typescript. Joyce deletes the apostrophe 
in wi84:4. 

To Molly's mind religion brings luck even as a ring does. See 
above, p. 95. 

102. U726; wi79:4. On a separate line in the marginal ad- 
dition, "us" v^'as apparently overlooked by the compositor, for 
wi8i:4 and v\^i82:4, in which the addition is incorporated, lack 
the word. 

103. U767; W2o8:3. Further superstition is introduced in 
Molly's memory of a scene with her daughter, discussed above, 
p. 101. 

104. U726; Roberts typescript. 105. U758; v^203:3. 

106. U761; W204:5. He also deletes the apostrophe. For 
earlier citation, see above, p. 89. 

107. W200:6. Another addition to Molly's incorrect usage was 
presented in the discussion of her superstitiousness: "I hope 
theyre bubbles on it for a wad of money from some fellow". (See 
above, p. 95. 

108. U670. 109. U743; R. 

110. wi87:8. In wi89:8 the passage reads "your sad bereave- 
ment symp=athy I always make that mistake and newphew with 
yous yous in". Joyce underscores "newphew" and writes a mar- 
ginal "X". v^i92:8 reads "symphathy", and Joyce substitutes "2" 
for the first "yous". In h he restores "double" before the remain- 
ing "yous". 

111. U's "sympathy" (corrected to "symphathy" by I) and 
"newphew" fail entirely to render the process. 

H, s, op: "symphathy", "newphew". 

112. U743; R. 

113. wi9o:8. The final text is achieved in h. 

114. U744; wi95:i. (Italics mine.) Then, after "going by 
with" Joyce adds further "the bell bringing" — commented on in 

The Characterization of Molly Bloom 121 

''Stylistic Realism in Joyce's Ulysses/' A James Joyce Miscellany: 
Second Series, p. 28. The rest of the text is added in wi94:i, 
wi96:i, and h. 

115. U751; wi94:6. 

116. wi96:6. This proof reads "skerry's", and Joyce deletes 
the apostrophe. In h he corrects a corrupt "all's" to "all Is". Un- 
fortunately, the compositor appears to have acted on the "X" 
deleting " 's" but not on the last part of the marginal notation 
"X Is". 

H, s: "skerrys"; op, U: "Skerrys". 

s, EP, S4, s6, 59, OP, U; "getting all at school". 

117. See above, p. 90. 118. U734; wi92:2. 

119. U754; W203:i. 

120. U754-55; W20o:i. He also changes "watch" to "see". 
Another addition to Molly's colloquialism is made in a passage 

already cited: "theyd die down dead" becomes "theyd die down 
dead off their feet" (see above, n. 84). 

121. U737; R. The English Dialect Dictionary defines plouter, 
of which plotter is a variant, as follows: "2. ... to trifle, 
dawdle, linger." 

U's "pottering is an erratum. Cf. above, p. 108; h, s, op. 

122. U747; wi97:3. (Italics mine.) He also deletes the 
apostrophe and reverses the sequence of "they ever". 

P. W. Joyce, English as We Speak It in Ireland (London & 
Dublin, 1910), p. 325, defines skit as follows: "to laugh and 
giggle in a silly way." 

For a discussion of the context of the present addition in a 
later stage, see above, pp. 92-93. 

123. U755; W2oi:i. The EDD defines scoot (v.^), of which 
scout is a variant, as follows: "1. v. To eject liquid forcibly; to 

124. U756; W20o:2. P. W. Joyce, p. 336, defines strap as 
follows: "a bold forward girl or woman; the word often conveys 
a sense slightly leaning towards lightness of character." 

125. U765; W2o8:i. The EDD defines handrunning (under 
hand [1. sb.]) thus: "consecutively, continuously, in uninter- 
rupted succession." 

Other dialect terms introduced in r follow: U723: "dring"; 
724: "babbyface"; 728: "glauming" (as noted above, pp. 91- 


92); 731: "dreeping"; 734: "scrooching"; 749: "lecking". In the 
Roberts typescript, the following terms are added: U731: 
"skeezing"; 741: "taittering" 

Besides dialect words, Molly employs many dialect locutions: 
"the day . . . Goodwin called . . . and I just after dinner all 
flushed and tossed with boiling old stew" (U732 — "and I" etc. 
added in Roberts typescript) —regarding this construction (also 
used on pp. 734 [twice: first passage added in Roberts type- 
script; second, in r], 737, 740 [twice: second passage added in 
h], 742 [added in h], 748 [added in r], 752, 767), see P. W. 
Joyce, pp. 33-35; "sure you cant get on in this world without 
style" (U736) —regarding this construction (also used on pp. 
736 [a second example, added in r], 737 [added in r], 740 
[added in wi87:6], 763), see P. W. Joyce, pp. 338-39; "he 
never can explain a thing simply the way a body can understand" 
(U738) — regarding Anglo-Irish "the way" ('in order that'), see 
P. W. Joyce, p. 36. 

Two other Hibernicisms added in revision follow: (1) "if 
we had even a bath itself" (presented above, p. 103) . Cf. Molly's 
"if we I buy a pair of brogues itself" (U736). Regarding the 
Anglo-Irish itself ('even'), see P. W. Joyce, pp. 36-37. (2) "you 
couldnt hear your ears" (U727; ^^185:5). Cf. P. W. Joyce, p. 
201: "An odd expression: — 'You are making such noise that I 
can't hear my ears.' " 

126. 1/725; wi82:2. The apostrophe, deleted in wi84:2, 
persists in wi85:3, a later galley, and is deleted again in h. 

127. U733; R. 

128. wi87:i. s, U; "there'll"; op: "therell". 

129. U757; W20o:3. 

130. U742-43; vv^i9o:8. He also changes the second "put" 
to "print". 

This passage provides additions to Molly's technique of attrac- 
tion beyond those treated above, pp. 86 ff . 

131. wi92:8. The rest of the text is introduced in h. 

Two further additions to Molly's peevishness have been dis- 
cussed in another connection: "the fat lot" and "Jamesy" 
(above, p. 98). 

132. U735; wi92:2. His intention was evidently misunder- 
stood, as H reads "make that one made them" and Joyce deletes 
"made them." 

The Characterization of Molly Bloom 123 

He appears to have altered "Sparrows" to "Lewers" between 
H and publication. 

Note that he has also confused Molly's tenses. In h he 
changes "make" to "made" — still more confusion of tenses. 

133. U753; R. 134. wigSiy. s, OP, U: "doesnt". 

135. wi95:7. 136. wi(^6:j. 137. U750; wi98:5. 

138. U758; W202:3. 

139. W20o:4. Joyce deletes the apostrophe in "Fll" in W20i:3 
and W200:4 (chronologically ordered); the apostrophe in 
"doesn't," in W203:3. 140. h. 

141. U730; wi82:7. U's "I'll" is an erratum; cf. h, s, op. 

142. wi84:7. 

143. wi85:8. Here, also, after "show" he adds "him"; after 
"too", "we did it". 

144. U748; wi98:4. 145. See above, p. 86. 
146. U729-30; wi85:7. 147. U735; R. 

148. Roberts typescript. 149. wi87:2. 

150. U736; R. 

151. wi87:3. He also changes "an" to "this". 

152. wi9i:3. 

153. wi9o:3. Discussed above, p. 92. 

154. wi92:3. He gets rid of the apostrophes in wi88:3, 
wi9i:3, and h. In wi92:3 he changes "four" to "4" before 
"years". In h, after "like" he deletes "new". 

155. U741; wi87:7. 

156. U748; wi96:4. In h, after "itself" Joyce inserts "or 
my own room anyway". 

157. U754; wi96:8. 158. U757; W204:2. 

159. W203:2. Here, also, he changes "sixteen" to "16". 

160. In the final text, Molly thinks about music constantly. 
Note, furthermore, the probable responsibility of "the choirstairs 
performance" (p. 748) for "the chamber performance" (p. 
749), part of an addition discussed above, p. 87. 

161. U732; Roberts typescript. The sailor had growled ''For 
England . . . home and beauty'' as he begged. When he 
"bayed" the last three words towards Molly's window, the "gay 
sweet chirping whistling within went on a bar or two, ceased." 
Then followed Molly's contribution (U222). 

M. J. C. Hodgart and M. P. Worthington, Song in the Works 
of James Joyce (New York, 1959), p. 68, give the title of the 


sailor's song as The Death of Nelson. Words (by S. J. Arnold) 
and music (by John Braham) are available in Granville Ban- 
tock, ed., One Hundred Songs of England (Boston, etc. [1914]), 
pp. 171-75. 

162. wi84:8. For the added song, which begins v^ith the 
v^^ords "It is a charming girl I love," see J. Benedict, composer, 
J. Oxenford and Dion Boucicault, librettists. The Lily of 
Killarney (London [1879]), p. 8. 

163. U744; Roberts typescript. Joyce deletes the apostrophe 
in wi98:i. 

The added song is, of course, out of Gilbert and Sullivan's 

164. wi95:i. In wi96:i Joyce changes "three" to "3". 

165. "O Maritana wildwood flov^^er" (U759). This air and 
the air in the addition under discussion occur in W. V. Wal- 
lace's Maritana, Act in. The third air - "The Winds that Waft 
My Sighs to Thee" — also is introduced in proof: see above, 
p. 105. The present addition echoes Bloom's use of the same 
snatch (U506). 

166. U760; W20i:5. He also restores "I" before "ever" (both 
v^ords were part of an addition in r) and deletes all the 
apostrophes but that in "I'll". In W203:5 he deletes that one 
and a persistent other in the first "love's". 

167. W203:5. In W20o:5, ^^^^^ "Tarifa" Joyce adds "the 
lighthouse at Europa point". 

168. By Clifton Bingham and H. Trotdre; in Hugo Frey, ed., 
Robbins Mammoth Collection of World Famous Songs (Mam- 
moth Series No. 2) (New York [1939]), p. 78. The song is re- 
ferred to by name in U271, 636, 740, 743. (In the last passage, 
Molly appears to be derisively adapting part of the refrain, 
"Time is flying. Love is sighing," to "love is sighing I am 

169. Perhaps he felt that, since Molly had just said "theyre 
my eyes", the darkness of her eyes (see above, p. 82) would be 
sufficient stimulus for her to remember "as darkly bright". 

170. U763; W202:7. ''The Winds that Waft My Sighs to 
Thee," by W. V. Wallace, is included in J. C. H., comp.. Good 
Old Songs We Used to Sing, 11 (Boston, etc., 1895), 124-26. 

171. U768; W2io:2. See above, p. 94. 

The Characterization of Molly Bloom 125 

In W2ii:2 Joyce alters ''two" to **2"; however, h, s, op, and 
U omit "2". 

Musical associations added in revision and presented in other 
connections, follow: (1) **he goes about whistling ... his 
huguenots or the frogs march" (above, p. 104); (2) "Bill 
Bailey won't you please come home" (above, p. 109). 

172. 'The Characterization of Leopold Bloom," Literature 
and Psychology, ix (1959), 3-4. 

173. Budgen, p. 264. 174. U671; wi74:2. 

175. U759; v^2oo:4. Somewhat later, Joyce adds "I dont want 
to soak it all out of him like the other women do besides he 
wont spend it" (U766; W2ii:i). (The final text is achieved in 
W2ii:i and W2o8:2.) 

176. U749; wi95:5. In H Joyce deletes "it". 

OP, u: "5/-", which was part of an addition in wi98:5; 
but a short hyphen appears to have been mistaken for a period, 
deleted by Joyce in wi95:5. 

R, wi 94-99, H, s: "drove"; s8, op, U: "drive". 

177. See above, p. 83. 

178. U763; W202:7. ^^^ "sigh" is of a piece with the intro- 
duction in this same galley, just before "so well he may sleep", 
of "listen to him the winds that waft my sighs to thee" (see 
above, p. 105). 

The rest of the text is built up in W200:8 (see above, pp. 
95-96) and between that galley and h. 

179. U723; R. 180. Roberts typescript. 
181. wi79:i. 182. wi85:i. 

183. U727-28; wi84:5. Joyce supplies the apparently for- 
gotten "me" after "annoyed" in v^i85:5. The rest of the text 
is added in wi 85 15 and between h and publication. 

184. U749; wi95:4. Here, also, Joyce alters "2" to "4", 
heightening Molly's grievance at the same time that he adds a 
reason for affection. 

185. U723; wi 79:1. He deletes the apostrophe in wi83:i and 

In wi84:i, after "much" he adds "a nun". 

186. U309: "What's your programme today?" 

187. U737; wi9i:4. He also deletes the apostrophe. 
U's "pottering" is an erratum; see above, p. 99. 


188. U732; W186 (single page). 

189. U735-36; wi87:3. 

190. wi88:3. The inscription in the Daranti^re stamp in 
W187 reads: 

^j.g ri8 octobre 1921 


.Mii« Beach 
That in wi88 reads: 

(3 novembre 1921 

tM"« Beach 
191, U750; R. 192. wi94:5. 193. H. 

194. U760; W202:5. 195. U766; W2io:i. 

196. U725-26; wi84:3. He also deletes the apostrophe in 
"wouldn't" and substitutes "the" for the first "his". 

A Father Bernard Corrigan is mentioned in U716. Bernard 
Corrigan, on pp. 631-32 and 689, seems to be a namesake. 

U's "couldn't" and "wouldn't" are errata. Joyce deleted the 
apostrophe in "couldn't" in wi79:3. 

197. U735; wi9i:2. Previous allusions to Val Dillon occur 
in U153, 230, 364, 716. 

Note how Molly corroborates our knowledge of the parasitic 
Lenehan, who gave his version of the ride over Featherbed 
Mountain on pp. 230-31. 

198. H. 

199. U759; R. He deletes the apostrophe in W20i:4. In h, 
after "home" he adds "her widows weeds wont improve her ap- 
pearance theyre awfully becoming though if youre goodlooking" 
— another contribution to Molly's awareness of clothes. 

The song "Bill Bailey, Won't You Please Come Home," 
words and music by Hughie Cannon, is available in }. J. Geller, 
Famous Songs and Their Stories (New York [1931]), pp. 

200. E. B. Burgum, " 'Ulysses' and the Impasse of Indi- 
vidualism," Virginia Quarterly Review^ xvii (1941), 563. 

The Theme of Ulysses 


1. Kenyon Review, Winter, 1956 

I SHOWED the following radio talk to Mr. Ransom 
last year, and he kindly said he would like a piece for the 
Kenyon on the topic, of about twice the length. I realized 
what he meant when I showed it to other persons, who said 
things like ''But have you seen the recently discovered notes 
preparatory to the play Exiles?" This I had done, but the 
argument had had to be simplified for the talk, and I had 
not seen the article of Mr. Richard Ellmann.^ I said I 
could write a longer version at once, but then I found the 
process depressing. A reason for this resistance is perhaps 
that the plan was mistaken; it is more interesting for the 
reader to be given the radio talk and then some answers to 
objections that might occur to him. Perhaps I should add 
that I wrote a much longer text on the same subject in 
Peking, which I may yet try to improve; but to have to try 
to appear sensible at moderate length is always a good test 
of a theory; one had better do that early. 

WILLIAM EMPSON, whosc Seven Types of Ambiguity set the course 
for much of contemporary criticism, teaches at the University of 
Sheffield in England. His literary interests are extremely diverse; 
ranging from the essay on Joyce in this Miscellany to his recently 
published work on Milton. 



II. {BBC Third Programme Talk, Bloomsday 1954) 

What I have to say cannot help sounding a bit odd. It 
sounds both rather improper in itself and also a rather un- 
highminded view to take of the great book Ulysses. But I 
have long thought that my view of that book is not only 
much less dismal than what critics usually say about it but 
also allows you to think that the author had decent feelings 
in writing it, instead of very nasty ones. Let me recall that 
the book describes one day in the life of Stephen Dedalus, 
who was the hero of a previous book by Joyce called Portrait 
of the Artist as a Young Man, so Stephen in Ulysses has to 
be Joyce himself on June 16th 1904. He appears in the book 
w Ulysses to be accepting friendship from the man Bloom, a 
coarse and depressed advertising agent who soon becomes 
much more funny and interesting and agreeable than Ste- 
phen; but in the whole last third of the book this offer of 
friendship is becoming more and more of a failure, till the 
heroic young author walks away into the night. Bloom is 
married to a well-known professional singer, and the mar- 
riage has got into great confusion, and he offers to put 
Stephen to bed with his wife, not in actual words but ex- 
tremely plainly; and his chief reason is that he wants to get 
rid of her present lover. Blazes Boylan, the worst man in 
Dublin. The last chapter of the book is a vast monologue by 
the wife Molly thinking in bed; she is now looking forward 
to pleasure with Stephen, whom her husband has described 
to her before going to sleep, but also as her chapter goes on 
she expresses a surprising amount of emotional dependence 
upon her reliable husband. As for Bloom, the book has al- 
ready made him reflect that he will be almost in despair if 
Stephen doesn't come back. However Stephen, even though 
we have seen him refuse everything and everybody else in 
Dublin, and he has nowhere to sleep, let alone any source of 
money, has walked out on them at two in the morning. I 

The Theme of Ulysses 129 

think it is true to say that every one of the critics, all these 
years, has assumed that both the Blooms are deluded when 
they hope that Stephen will come back to them. This of 
course has made all the critics think the book frightful, 
whether they admire it or denounce it; both sides take for 
granted that it is not merely pointless but as one might say 
nerve-rackingly and needlingly pointless, saying nothing ex- 
cept that nothing in Dublin was good enough for the young 
Joyce. It would be fun to give a lot of quotations from critics, 
but I haven't time. 

Now, I think this basic assumption about the book com- 
pletely wrong. It is meant to be a very gay book, and a lot 
of it actually is so funny that I can't read it aloud at home 
of an evening, as I have sometimes tried to do, without 
breaking down and going into fits. You and I may think he 
makes Dublin seem sordid and dismal, but we need to 
realize that Joyce didn't think that himself; after 1904, the 
year of the story, he chose to be in exile for almost all the 
rest of his life, but he stuck to saying he had never felt at 
home except in Dublin. Now there is nothing in the book 
to stop you from assuming, what seems natural if you start 
from this point of view, that Stephen did go to bed with 
Molly, very soon after the one day of the book; and, what 
is more, that Joyce when he looks back thinks it probably 
saved his hfe and anyhow made it possible for him to be- 
come the great author who tells the story. Joyce was a very 
self-important man, as he had to be to do what he did, and 
he was also fanatically devoted to making his art tell the 
essential truth. He would never have turned the final book 
of his autobiography into a mere description of how sick- 
eningly mean-minded and nasty he had been when he was 
young. He knew he was doing that too; he said to a friend 
who saw the work in progress, "I haven't let this young man 
off lightly, have I?" For that matter, there is a photograph 
of Joyce taken in 1904 which makes me feel sure that the 
later Joyce made him look much worse than he was.^ As the 


book shows the young man, he is downright dangerous; he 
is on the edge either of lunacy or crime. But that is why the 
young man needed what happened to him on the day of the 
novel; after that he turned into the novelist Joyce, an ex- 
tremely fixed and reliable character, and there was no further 
development of his character that Joyce felt any duty to put 
in a book, ever after. You see, the first thing about his at- 
titude to writing novels is that they ought to tell the es- 
sential truth. But here, as he was writing about himself, he 
had another duty, to hide the people he was really talking 
about. In this second duty, so far as I can make out, he 
succeeded completely; the Dubliners are wonderful gossips, 
but they have never found out. 

We need therefore to consider Joyce^s own life at the 
time. The day of the novel Ulysses is June 16th 1904, and 
that June was when he first met the lady who ran away 
with him from Ireland the following October, and remained 
his devoted wife through all his future troubles (incidentally 
her relations gave enough money at a crucial point to keep 
the family alive). Now in the rejected first version of the 
Portrait of the Artist, some of which happens to have sur- 
vived, he describes how the young man became fond of a 
respectable young girl and expressed this by waylaying her in 
the street and saying that if she would go to bed with him 
at once he would fall in love with her later. It seems she 
didn't take this too solemnly but felt she couldn't have any 
more to do with him. We hear a good deal in his books 
about the brothels then in Dublin, and the peculiar mixture 
of fascination and disgust which he felt for the girls there. 
Now, for any young man, this makes a confusing experience 
when he passes on to try to deal with a respectable girl, but 
much more so for the young Joyce, who was in revolt against 
all convention, because such a man refuses to try out the 
accepted rules. Molly would be the first woman not a 
prostitute he had ever been to bed with, and this would be 
a very decisive thing in his life, one might almost say his 

The Theme of Ulysses 131 

first real sexual experience. Molly was not too hampering 
for him, she wouldn't tie him down; but she was peaceful 
and domestic, she was earning her own living, and above all 
she would never put up with being despised. I tell you the 
first thing Molly would do; she would make him wash (he 
spends a lot of time, as part of his general revolt, boasting 
that he hasn't washed for a year or some such period.)^ Now 
it is very unlikely that he could have got his future wife to 
trust him so deeply as to run away with him unless he had 
had some such experience with an older woman first. Ste- 
phen as we meet him in Ulysses could not have induced a 
reliable level-headed girl to do that; she would have realized 
that he was already jeering at her, even though he didn't 
want to. 

I have gone into all this at perhaps tiresome length be- 
cause I believe it is the fundamental human point of the 
novel. When Joyce came to look back on his life, a number 
of years later, having finished the book Dubliners in the 
meantime, he thought, ''How did it happen? How did I get 
out with body and soul alive from that appalling situation?" 
And then he thought, ''What made it possible, the turning 
point, was that first minor affair with old Molly." This was 
a delightful conclusion for the novelist, because he could go 
ahead with a clear conscience, and tell the truth, and the 
more he invented things to hide the real individuals the 
better. On this view, the whole idea that the story of Ulysses 
was meant to feel "bitter," with nothing ever happening, in 
fact not an epic,* is simply a delusion which the critics copy 
out from one another. 

This much I think can't help being true, but there is 
another half of the story in Ulysses which I am less sure of. 
It is in the book, my question is whether it really happened; 
and the chief reason for thinking it did is that Joyce seems 
so very incapable of inventing it. You understand, I am now 
going further: I am postulating two happy endings for a 
story which has long been regarded as consecrated to frustra- 


tion. Bloom is described, with startling literary power so 
that there is no doubt about it, as having a very specific 
neurosis: the death of his infant son ten years before gave 
him a horror of the business of having a child so that he 
can't try to have another one. At the same time he longs 
to have a son, and so does Molly; both of them, during their 
private reflections in the book, are made to express this with 
dreadful pathos. (By the way, I have no patience with critics 
who say it is impossible ever to tell whether Joyce means a 
literary effect to be ironical or not; if they don't know this 
part isn't funny, they ought to.) Bloom is not impotent or 
homosexual or afraid of Molly; he has simply this special 
trouble which has long upset his home life. He feels that if 
he could plant on her a lover he was fond of, who would 
even take his advice instead of jeering at him, he could even 
now have this son himself by his wife; and after that was 
over, and the present jam in his married life was broken, so 
his incessantly calculating mind begins to reflect, he might 
even fix Molly by marrying Stephen to their daughter Milly. 
That would be the best thing for Milly too; and if you could 
only get Stephen to be a reliable concert singer he would 
be a very useful man to have in the house. Now Joyce very 
nearly did become a concert singer, and was extremely proud 
of his voice, though he couldn't afford to have it fully 
trained. He failed in an audition for the profession after the 
day of the book. And we gather the main job of Bloom is 
as an entrepreneur for his wife's jobs as a singer, though the 
rude Blazes Boylan is doing it at present; so Bloom is in a 
position to make serious offers to Stephen. Some critics have 
described this sordid beast Bloom as trying to drag the great 
genius Joyce down into the mud, but Joyce didn't look at it 
like that, very reasonably. When Bloom says to Stephen, in 
effect, *1 am only trying to save you for my own advantage," 
he is showing good feeling and good manners; in a way it is 
true, but he is going very far out of his way to do it. And 
music is one of the few positive arts in the curious world of 

The Theme of Ulysses 133 

the book; everybody takes singing extremely seriously. If you 
join the sexual story onto the whole position of the char- 
acters, you needn't think it so very scabrous. We know that 
in the end Joyce didn't go in for singing, but the offer he 
describes as being made to him was a serious one all round. 

Now, an enormous background of symbolism is piled up 
behind this personal story, or rather this preparation for a 
story; about mother-goddesses and fertility cults, about the 
son who has renounced his father and is searching for a 
spiritual father, about the father looking for a son, about 
what Shakespeare meant by the Sonnets and by Hamlet^ 
and of course about the Odyssey itself. All this background 
seems fussy and pedantic until you realize that it builds up 
the terrible refusal to choose, done by Stephen in the Ques- 
tion-and- Answer chapter. This comes just before the final 
chapter, given to Molly. A parody of both scientific and 
legal styles of writing makes it almost impossible to find out 
what Bloom and Stephen are feeling about each other, or 
even saying to each other. Joyce said that this chapter was the 
Ugly Duckling of his book, meaning of course that in the 
end it would be recognized as a swan. The chapter certainly 
need not be taken to mean that Stephen will never accept; 
surely the chief point of it is that in real life he couldn't 
decide, at such a peculiarly exhausting moment. The drama 
of the thing is left entirely hanging in suspense. But at any 
rate a real offer is being made; there is no need for critics 
to say that nothing but grim acceptance of the sordid com- 
monplace is going on all through the last third of the book. 

As to the parallel with the Odyssey, which is made prom- 
inent in the title, that seems merely tiresome if it is only 
supposed to be what is called irony, that is, a joke because it 
doesn't fit; the point of it, I think, is that it was the only 
way left for Joyce to hint that there would be a happy end- 
ing for Ulysses-Bloom. In fact this is what makes the book 
an epic. Joyce can't do it any other way if he is to keep to 
his rigid convention of one day and also keep to his theory 


that the author must not speak in person. The book is like 
the Ibsen Problem Plays which he greatly admired; the aim 
is to thrust on the reader a general problem, so one mustn't 
make it easy for the reader by ending with a particular 
solution. The reason for dragging in Shakespeare and the 
Sonnets, which happens chiefly when Stephen tries to get 
advance payment for an article on Shakespeare by talking 
about him in the library chapter, is simply that the reader 
needs this amount of help to understand the book; the sit- 
uation that Joyce is leading up to is one that hardly any 
other author has handled, whereas something like it does 
happen to crop up in the Shakespeare Sonnets. And then, 
the reason for the magnificent but over-laboured chapter in 
the maternity hospital is that the book is leading up to 
Ulysses-Bloom recovering his son. And so forth. All this is 
evident, but critics usually deal with it by saying that the 
relation of a spiritual father to his spiritual son was what 
Joyce meant. But Joyce would have laughed at that; it could 
only mean to him a priest, and he was cross with priests; he 
had himself refused to become one. Only a real son would 
count, and he has laboured to present a special psychology 
for Bloom which makes a real son a possible result of this 
day. To be sure, the novel does not ask you to believe that 
Bloom did have a son, but it does expect you to believe that 
on this day Bloom is getting a real opportunity to produce 
a son; the problem as it is shown to you is not trivial. Nor 
is there anything in the book to make you assume, as the 
critics regularly do, that Bloom must have lost his oppor- 

Such is my general opinion about the book, and I ought 
now to present at least a little evidence for it. The bit about 
Stephen's Doom, in the Question-and-Answer chapter, 
seems a good example. I might first say that, early in the 
book, Stephen has struggled to remember, while alone on 
the beach, a dream he had last night which is in effect the 
Bloom Offer; he feels a certain fear about what the dream 

The Theme of Ulysses 135 

meant. Joyce, as well as Stephen, was a quaintly superstitious 
man who would regard a prophetic dream as a serious part 
of the build-up. Towards the end of the book the exhausted 
Stephen, already drunk and half starving and half mad with 
remorse, and then knocked out by a soldier, has been 
searched out and picked up and taken home by Bloom, who 
is a Jew, and given cocoa; then Stephen sings a savage ballad 
about the Christian boy who went into the Jew's house and 
was killed by the Jew's daughter. This is his habit, and does 
not mean serious anti-Semitic feelings; as soon as he revived, 
he would insult anybody who was helping him, in the 
simplest way he could. Then, in the appalling style of this 
chapter, we have (and I quote) : 

Condense Stephen's commentary. 

One of all, the least of all, is the victim predestined. 
Once by inadvertence, twice by design he challenges his 
destiny. It comes when he is abandoned and challenges 
him reluctant and, as an apparition of hope and youth, 
holds him unresisting. It leads him to a strange habita- 
tion, to a secret infidel apartment, and there, implacable, 
immolates him, consenting. 

This handsome paragraph has rather little to do with the 
song, and I think it must mean that Stephen will consent 
to the Bloom Offer, though he is automatically nasty about 
it. You may naturally think that he won't do it if he thinks 
it is a doom. But the reader has had some acquaintance with 
him by this time, and every time he has seen a doom he has 
run into it as fast as he could go. Why should we suppose 
he will keep away from this particularly interesting doom? 
I would take a small bet that he didn't. 

So far as one can make out, Stephen rambles on drunkenly 
saying what is ''condensed" in this answer, while the hurt 
Bloom is silent. Then there seems to be a long pause, while 
this insult makes Bloom think about his own daughter. 
(You understand I am trying to interpret this frightful 
text.) The next words are Bloom inviting Stephen to stay 


the night, and Stephen is shocked by this kindness into 
rather more decent behavior. 

Was the proposal of asylum accepted? 
Promptly, inexplicably, with amicability, gratefully it 
was declined. 

So Bloom gives him back the bit of money he had saved 
him from throwing away, and Stephen then promises to 
come back and clear up for Molly the Italian pronunciation 
of the concert songs she sings in Italian. The promise is 
expressed so very obscurely, and has been so much ignored 
by critics, that it needs quoting. It goes like this: 

What counterproposals were alternately advanced, ac- 
cepted, modified, declined, restated in other terms, reac- 
cepted, ratified, reconfirmed? 

To inaugurate a prearranged course of Italian instruc- 
tion, place the residence of the instructed. To inaugurate 
a course of vocal instruction, place the residence of the 
instructress. To inaugurate a series of static, semistatic and 
peripatetic intellectual dialogues, places the residence of 
both speakers (if both speakers were resident in the same 
place), the Ship hotel and tavern, the ... . 

and so on, a farcical list of other places. It does look as if 
Stephen was bored and irritated by the efforts of poor Bloom 
to pin him down about these intellectual talks. But we must 
remember the meaning of the word counterproposal, which 
Joyce would not simply get wrong, especially when he is 
claiming to be pedantic. The proposal was made by Bloom, 
to stay the night; the counterproposal was therefore made 
by Stephen, to come later and improve Molly's Italian; this 
was ratified and reconfirmed. The tactless Bloom then sug- 
gested that Molly as a professional singer could train Ste- 
phen for that career, which would offend Stephen, so he is 
rude about it. But he urgently needs something to do, now 
that he has thrown up his job; he is very scornful of other 
people who break their promises, and he has just made a 
promise; and he has not yet met Molly, though he has heard 

The Theme of Ulysses 137 

so much about her. Surely the Bloom Offer would at least 
excite curiosity. I think he refuses to stay the night merely 
because he wants to meet her first on some other footing 
than that of waif and stray; it would be very like his habitual 
pride. We need not suppose he thinks he is too grand or 
too high-class to do anything with the Bloom couple except 
tell lies to them; that is not the way Stephen's pride works, 
or Joyce's either. 

The difficulty about Ulysses, as is obvious if you read the 
extremely various opinions of critics, is that, whereas most 
novels tell you what the author expects you to feel, this one 
not only refuses to tell you the end of the story, it also 
refuses to tell you what the author thinks would have been 1 
a good end to the story. A critic of Ulysses always holds a 
theory about the intention of Joyce in Ulysses, without real- 
izing that he is holding it. Most of the critics who have 
hated the book, and also the American Judge who allowed 
the book into the States, which he did on the ground that 
it is emetic rather than aphrodisiac, seem to hold what I 
call the Jeer Theory; that is, they think there really was a 
couple, whom we may call the Ur-Blooms, who tried to be 
kind to the young Joyce, and as a result the elder Joyce spent 
at least ten years in trying to make them look immortally 
ridiculous and disgusting. No wonder these readers think 
Joyce a pretty disgusting author; no other objection to the 
morality of the book is half so serious as that one. I think 
Joyce simply miscalculated there; he did not foresee that 
people would read him like that, chiefly because it was so 
remote from his own sentiments. Most critics who have ac- 
cepted him, so far as one can make out, have adopted what 
I call the Remorse Theory; that is, they think there was a 
Bloom Offer, and that Joyce rejected it, and perhaps went 
on feeling he couldn't have done anything but reject it, but 
even so came to feel he was a cad about rejecting it, and 
perhaps that somehow it could have been accepted in a 
better world. This gives you a decent moral basis for reading 


the book, as far as the author is concerned, but it makes the 
book seem very dismal or even self-torturing. I am assuming 
that we cannot hold the Pure Invention Theory, which 
critics in their tactful way usually take for granted; I do not 
believe Joyce was capable of inventing such a good story, 
as it works out; the unearthly shocking surprise with which 
all the theorizing of the book at last becomes solid, as an 
actual homely example, hard to know what to make of. We 
have only to peep into Finnegans Wake, where Joyce clearly 
was trying to invent a story, to see how extremely short of 
novelistic invention he was in his otherwise wonderful equip- 
ment. For that matter his behavior in later life doesn't sug- 
gest the Pure Invention Theory at all, and positively refutes 
the Remorse Theory; he expected all his friends to come on 
Bloomsday for a sort of private Christmas and celebrate it 
in a farcical but rejoicing manner. As soon as you look at 
the matter from that angle, which most critics have refused 
to do, it seems clear the Acceptance Theory holds the field. 
I am also rejecting the Pure Epiphany Theory, which 
some critics have deduced because Joyce himself said that 
a novel ought to give an Epiphany. I agree that this opinion 
of Joyce is important, because it shows he didn't think a 
novel ought to be pointless. But, the way the critics take it, 
even a tiny contact with the young Joyce is supposed to have 
been enough to bring happiness to the Blooms. This school 
makes great play with Bloom asking his wife for breakfast 
in bed next morning, just before he goes to sleep; it is 
supposed to show he has become a man again; but it seems 
a natural thing to do, after he has had such a hard day. He 
isn't shown as afraid of his wife, except in his nightmares; 
in fact the Citizen says he bullies her. What is wrong with 
him is a more specific psychological trouble. In any case, 
this theory, though it doesn't make the author malicious or 
poisoned, surely makes him ridiculously vain about his in- 
fluence as a young man; he might as well have called the 
book Pippa Passes. There is, I would agree, a strand of silli- 

The Theme of Ulysses 139 

ness in the mind of Joyce, but nothing near as bad as that. 

A great deal of the difficulty of writing the book, and 
indeed I think its peculiar form, came from the fact that he 
had already told the reader he is writing about his own life. 
Surely this made it very hard to tell what he thought the 
essential part of his own story without dragging in the 
originals of the Blooms. I make no doubt that they were 
extremely different from the Bloom couple in the book; for 
one thing, I think making them Jewish was part of the 
business of laying a false trail. The whole game of keeping 
his secret while telling the truth on such a big scale was 
obviously a great spur to his invention, and also gave him 
a great deal of innocent glee. This also, I think, explains 
another rather puzzling aspect of the book. Once you realize 
that he has got hold of a subject of great interest, in fact 
one which novelists do not dare to treat, it does seem absurd 
to have hidden it completely from practically all readers 
while getting himself banned for years on completely irrel- 
evant grounds of petty indecency. But he wanted to do both; 
his novel was meant to be the last word all round, the last 
word in using rude words, and also the last word in the 
problem novel treating a profound subject which would 
gradually open itself to posterity. You may well ask why I 
should suppose that the critics have all been wrong for so 
long; the answer is that Joyce felt he had to arrange things 
like that, and the business of doing it gave him a very ex- 
hilarating sense of glory. 

Well, I do not expect to get agreement on this subject; 
many very keen minds have been at work for twenty years 
on what the intention of Ulysses can be. But my theor}^ does 
at least prevent the book from seeming a record piece of 
dismal sustained nagging; and also I turn the puzzle into 
something which the mind of Joyce, always a straightfor- 
wardly well-intentioned mind unless he was kicking back at 
a supposed enemy, would have enjoyed doing.^ It may well 
be true that Joyce hadn't had enough experience of the 


Bloom situation to finish the book properly; that is, he did 
go to bed with the original Molly, but he only felt after- 
wards that he hadn't been friends enough with her husband. 
So then he tried to work out the Bloom situation as far as 
he could just because other novelists had funked it. But I 
think it equally likely that the original Bloom couple did 
have a son as a result of this incident, a son by Bloom, who 
will now be about fifty, and that is why Joyce always felt 
such glee about the whole affair. Joyce might have said 
what Jane Austen said on a similar occasion; Jane Austen 
has just remarked, at the end of Northanger Abbey ^ that the 
rich young man in her story wanted to marry the heroine 
merely because she had recklessly shown she was fond of 
him, and then Jane Austen says: 

It is a new circumstance in romance, I acknowledge; but if 
it be as new in common life, the credit of a wild imagina- 
tion will at least be all my own. 

III. (1956) 

It occurred to me, when I thought about expanding this 
material for the Kenyon Review, that I am blaspheming 
against two dogmas which have great authority for many 
of its readers; I am committing both the Fallacy of Inten- 
tionalism and the Fallacy of Biography, and had better ex- 
plain on what principles I do it, or what evidence there 
could be for the conclusions. Perhaps, however, it need not 
take long to dispose of those two bogeys. I think the case 
of Ulysses, and indeed the whole program of Ibsen which 
Joyce was following, reduce the attack on Intentionalism to 
farce. The attack says that it doesn't matter what the author 
tried to do; you must stick to what he succeeded in doing, 
because you can't get behind the words on the page. But 
Ibsen (I take it this is too well known to need proof) de- 
liberately set out to stimulate the judgment of his audiences, 
and force them to agree with him by a slow process of 

The Theme of Ulysses 141 

public bafflement and turmoil. He thought it would be 
aesthetically unsound to tell them his opinion, but he also 
thought this reason for silence unimportant compared to a 
kind of political claim in the technique; by the time they 
had realized his opinion, it would have become part of their 
own lives. To make you puzzle about his Intention was 
therefore part of his Intention, and he would have thought 
an Anti-Intentionalist even more sub-human than the beast- 
liest member of his audiences. If you have a theory that you 
mustn't consider the Intention of such an author (and 
Joyce maintained the same determined silence as Ibsen on 
crucial points) all that you are really doing is refusing to 
read him. 

But in the case of Ulysses I have also to commit the 
Fallacy of Biography; that is, talk as though what had hap- 
pened to the author affects the value of the book. I agree 
that the process is circuitous, but any spontaneous reader of 
this novel is forced to feel that he wants to know what really 
happened; somehow, he wants to know what basis of ex- 
perience Joyce is talking from. This is a normal situation, 
though Joyce used his great powers to give an extreme ex- 
ample of it. An author should try to produce a good book, 
and a reader should try to decide whether he can admire 
the whole ethos which has formed it. But in this case we 
have an extra factor; the autobiographer was too secret for 
his own purpose, as is clear from the absurdly divergent judg- 
ments which critics have actually formed. That is, too suc- 
cessful on a medium time-scale; on short time he welcomed 
a turmoil, and on long time I expect he will be understood 
(as he intended to be, after ''exile, silence and cunning" had 
done their work); but I deduce from some number-riddles 
about dates and ages in the Question-and-Answer chapter 
that he expected to be understood in his own lifetime, which 
he wasn't. We critics can put up a decent excuse. To decide 
between the Jeer Theory, the Acceptance Theory, the Pippa 
Passes Theory and so forth ^ is at bottom a problem in what 


the mathematicians call Inverse Probability; naturally it re- 
quires some information. It might seem fatuous to discuss 
what Stephen, a character in a book, did after the book 
was over; especially when the author is determined not to 
tell us. I agree with the critics who have said that we must 
not take simply his claim to be writing autobiography; no 
indeed, but we must take it deeply. Also I reahze that Joyce 
saw himself as the fully detached Flaubertian artist, "'paring 
his finger-nails," so that in one way it couldn't matter to him 
what happened next. But he got himself into this position 
by presenting a tremendous moment of choice, eternally 
suspended; the situation is what we are to consider, and in 
real hfe, we may reflect, it sometimes turns out one way, 
sometimes another. There could be no such aesthetic eEect 
if it did not matter to the character what happened next. 
Thus we do need, in order to judge the book, to decide 
what the author thought the character ought to have done 
after the book was over, or which of the possible later events 
the author wanted the reader to regard as a happy ending. 
Now, we can discuss what the young Joyce actually did, using 
the book as part of our evidence; arguing from what he did, 
we may hope to learn the scale of values which the later 
Joyce was trying to express in his book. In this way, and in 
no other, we may hope to arrive at a purely critical conclu- 
sion. Actually, a critic always goes through this circuitous 
process, but as a rule he takes it in his stride and gives it no 
attention; in the case of Ulysses it needs to be given atten- 
tion, as is clear from the divergent opinions that critics have 
formed. Not surprisingly, having been intended from the 
start as an enormous tease, it provides a good case to ex- 
plode the idea that Biography is a Fallacy. 

Putting so much weight on the influence of Ibsen (as 
giving us the right critical approach, unlike Flaubert) I 
ought perhaps to give some evidence for it. Joyce learned 
Norwegian as a young man to read Ibsen in the original, 
and wrote a florid article to praise him, printed in the 

The Theme of Ulysses 143 

Fortnightly Review in 1900, when he was eighteen (''either 
the perception of a great truth, or the opening up of a 
great question, or a great conflict which is almost independ- 
ent of the conflicting actors, and has been and is of far- 
reaching importance — this is what primarily rivets our at- 
tention"). Ibsen expressed pleasure at the article in a letter 
to William Archer, who quoted his remarks in a letter to 
Joyce. This arrived at dawn while he was pushing a swing, 
in the garden of his father's house, containing a young lady 
described as the original of Gerty Macdowell, with whom he 
had been all night at a ball. He remembered it as one of 
the most lyrical events of his hfe. One is rather baffled by 
this picture, after the fuss Joyce has made about the grind- 
ing poverty of his youth; it might suggest, too, that he wasn't 
quite as raw with girls as he gives us to suppose. But there 
is no doubt that he took Ibsen seriously; one might say, the 
belief that in Ibsen Europe was going ahead with its own 
large development was what prevented him from being an 
Irish Nationalist. It is also important I fancy that the last 
and most baffling play of Ibsen, When We Dead Awaken, 
printed in 1900, was analyzed by Bernard Shaw only in the 
second edition of his Quintessence of Ihsenism, which came 
out in 1913, just before Exiles was written. Shaw's account 
is that the sculptor and his ex-mistress even now, at the time 
of the play, might get "an honest and natural relation in 
which they shall no longer sacrifice and slay each other," so 
that these dead can awaken; "she sees the possibility of a 
miracle"; but the only effect of the moment of insight, owing 
to their previous training, is that they sacrifice each other 
much worse, this time finally. I imagine that Shaw is right, 
but there is nothing in the play to show that Ibsen isn't 
being "mystical," in the sense of simply praising the double 
suicide as a means of getting to a less nasty world. Here we 
have the technique of dramatic ambiguity in full use, 
whether successfully or not. One might think that, under 
such an influence, the deeper meaning of Ulysses would have 


to be something tragic; but Joyce would never imitate 
closely, and I think he merely felt that Ibsen had found how 
to apply to the modern world a technique already prominent 
in the classics. He himself, he felt, had somehow managed to 
face and handle the mysterious forces of life, and not sac- 
rifice the Ur-Bloom; what made his theme an epic was that 
it was as deep as Ibsen and yet not about death. 

To go back to the question whether Biography is any use, 
I have had to learn that I did not know enough Biography 
when I wrote my draft in Peking. I had admired the book 
greatly as an undergraduate, thinking as we all did, because 
we were told so, that it was defiantly pointless; and then 
reading it again twenty years later I thought it obviously had 
a great deal of point — the trouble was simply that the ex- 
pounders hadn't experienced what Joyce was talking about. 
Irritated by the intensely snooty gloom which they evidently 
thought smart, I supposed instead a Joyce who was above 
the struggle and could look back benignly because he knew 
the happy end of it. I now gather that the truth is more 
interesting than either of these extremes. I began to gather 
this, without needing more Biography than the dates of 
writing (but these seem essential), by reading the disgusting 
play Exiles J which he wrote just before settling down to the 
final version of Ulysses. As to the earlier versions, I take it 
that the remarks which Joyce sometimes let drop were 
literally true but likely to mislead. No doubt, material from 
the short story of that name proposed for Dubliners, about 
the uneventful day of an ineffectual Mr. Hunter, got in- 
corporated into some of the wanderings of Bloom in the 
middle of the book. By 1914 he had completed the Portrait 
in its final form, after shortening the first draft drastically 
in rewriting; presumably he now ended the story where he 
did because he had already decided that Ulysses would carry 
the sequel, the final crisis of his development. In between 
(during the first three months of 1914, says Mr. Herbert 
Gorman) he wrote Exiles. 

The Theme of Ulysses 145 

It is about an Irish author who has sacrificed a career at 
home out of devotion to his art; this not unfamihar figure 
is now visiting Dubhn with his wife, and they meet an old 
friend who has achieved worldly success. The hero suspects 
the wife feels she would have been happier if she had mar- 
ried the friend. He tells her to go to bed with the friend, 
ostensibly to satisfy this part of her nature; meanwhile he 
displays torment about the process to both of them, and 
insists on trying to make them tell him exactly what they 
did to each other (Did he touch you here? — it is carried out 
like Joyce's savage parodies of confession to a priest); if 
only he knows everything, he keeps saying in a tightlipped 
manner, he won't mind so much. The play presumes that 
the audience greatly admire this hero, as an example of the 
author's own noble behavior; whereas he is obviously only 
torturing the other characters, because he feels sulky and 
resentful. Mr. Harry Levin well remarked about this that 
"no playwright can afford to be a solipsist"; the play is un- 
produceable. Joyce of course had every right to feel keenly 
and sometimes blow off steam about the privations of the 
way of life which he had chosen with so much courage. 
What is surprising about Exiles is to find him obsessed by 
a contorted attitude to sexual jealousy, hardly less so than 
Proust, though he let it interfere with his major work much 
less than Proust did. I can claim, at any rate, that an im- 
pulse to adventurous treatment of the Eternal Triangle was 
pressing on his mind when he started Ulysses; the literal 
story about Bloom seemed to him more dramatic than many 
critics have supposed. But one can hardly regard him as 
above the struggle. 

We need to realize, I think, that this effect of resentment 
was an accidental result of trying to do something much 
more complex; to write a Profound Play, like Euripides and 
Shakespeare as well as Ibsen, which would have university 
lectures given on it in later years. In such a pla}^ as Joyce 
knew very well, being himself an intellectual type of critic, 


there has to be a series of ''levels" of understanding, with 
little traps to force a member of the audience from his 
present level to the next one, and all the levels somehow 
affect the audience though perhaps no one till long after 
can see them all clearly. Such was the way he approached the 
theatre, and he was plumb right. It is impressive to see such 
a mind setting out to do in full consciousness what the old 
masters presumably did by instinct. But, in the nature of 
things, he was very liable to make a complete mess of this 
complicated technique; we need not be surprised that he got 
into a situation where the audience, at all levels, only think 
the author needs kicking. He went stubbornly on to apply 
the same technique on a grander style in Ulysses^ in my 
opinion with success; but one had better admit how very 
bad the play was, because that helps one to recognize the 
interest and difficulty of what he was trying to do. 

However, granting that he wasn't in such a bad state of 
mind as his hero, we still want to know what his state of 
mind was. By good luck (and by devoted effort under the 
German Occupation of France) some notes which he wrote 
while preparing to write the play Exiles have survived. They 
can best be described, I think, by a savage phrase of his own: 
''I smell the public sweat of monks." They smack of no 
direct experience of the situation he is to handle; and they 
suggest a very possessive type of mind, such as would have 
found the situation very painful. Even in these secret notes, 
he is taking care not to let himself know whether Bertha 
and Robert copulate or not in the absurdly brief time which 
the plot makes available to them; this was one of the "prob- 
lems" which the audience were to go away discussing. Igno- 
rance of contraceptives is also firmly pretended, so as to raise 
a further "problem" about whether they are going to have 
a child ("Bertha is reluctant to give the hospitality of her 
womb to Robert's seed" and so on). The tone of a virgin 
priest preparing a confessional manual seems astonishingly 

The Theme of Ulysses 147 

As to the accomplishment of the act otherwise, externally, 
by friction, or in the mouth, the question needs to be 
scrutinized still more (Joyce's italic). Would she allow her 
lust to carry her so far as to receive his emission of seed 
in any other opening of the body where it could not be 
acted upon, when once emitted, by the forces of her secret 

He surveys cuckoldry through the literature of the ages and 
shows that a new treatment of it is coming into vogue in 
various languages — the poor old brutal husband has now 
become the most interesting corner of the triangle. There 
are a few personal references; we find him noting gloomily: 

Bodkin died. Kearns died. In the convent they called her 
the man-killer (woman-killer was one of her names for 
me). I live in soul and body. 

One cannot help feeling rather disgusted with such a mind, 
incessantly superstitious and resentful, but anyhow it is 
obviously working on something that really happened. (Also 
it has a decisive saving quality; it is determined to work all 
its bothers into something eternal because universally true.) 
The play treats an almost insane degree of secretiveness as 
merely normal in domestic life; thus the hero every morning 
unlocks and relocks the letter-box affixed to the front door; 
after the distribution of letters, the members of the house- 
hold lock up what they have received. Maybe he put this in 
to screw up the ''atmosphere" and not because he took it 
for granted, but one can't be sure. 

However, in stark contrast to this exacerbated possessive- 
ness, an idea of extreme generosity was also haunting his 

Bertha wishes for the spiritual union of Richard and Rob- 
ert, and believes that union will only be effected through 
her body, and perpetuated thereby. . . . The bodilv pos- 
session of Bertha by Robert, repeated often, would cer- 
tainly bring into almost carnal contact the two men. Do 
they desire this? To be united, that is, carnally through 


the person and body of Bertha, as they cannot, without 
dissatisfaction and degradation, be united carnally man to 
man as man to woman? 

This intention of Bertha was left pretty obscure when he 
came to write the play; not unreasonably, she does little but 
complain, and even the notes speak of her "mental paral- 
ysis." But it is working strongly in the husband's mind, and 
the lover has cottoned onto this in the seduction scene: 

Rob. He has left us alone here at night, at this hour, 
because he longs to know it — he longs to be delivered. 
Bertha. From what? 
Rob. From every law. Bertha, from every bond. . . . 

Richard indeed makes a lot of it in his tormenting behavior 
to Robert the next day: 

Rich. When I saw your eyes this afternoon I felt sad. 
Your humility and confusion, I felt, united me to you in 
brotherhood. (He turns half round towards him). At that 
moment I felt our whole life together in the past, and I 
longed to put my arm around your neck. ... In the very 
core of my ignoble heart I longed to be betrayed by you 
and by her — in the dark, in the night — secretly, meanly, 
craftily. I longed for that passionately and ignobly, to be 
dishonoured for ever in love and in lust ... to be for ever 
a shameful creature and to build up my soul again out of 
the ruins of its shame. 

In general, where the only holy or classy pleasure is inflicting 
and gloating over torture, a merely sexual scoptophilia is the 
very lowest pleasure of all. And to be low is exciting in itself, 
for one thing because it is ''taking a dare"; we get a lot of 
that in the mind of Bloom. Richard also says, more prac- 
tically, that he wants her to be unfaithful to make her like 
himself: ''She has spoken always of her innocence, as I have 
spoken of my guilt, humbling me." Even this he can express 
generously, when he reproaches himself for being jealous 
and "making her life poorer in love." The secret notes pre- 
tend to blame him at one point, as Bertha does, via the 

The Theme of Ulysses 149 

paradoxes about freedom: *'he wishes, it seems, to feel the 
thrill of adultery vicariously and to possess a bound woman 
Bertha through the organ of his friend"; but in general these 
notes are monolithically pro-Richard: ''Every step advanced 
by humanity through Richard is a step backwards by the 
type which Robert stands for." I take it that the aura of 
horror about the intention of Richard is meant to express 
the tragic situation usual for an innovator in morals; what 
his feelings drive him into is really an advance, but even to 
himself, not only to the rest of his society, it appears an 
unnatural wrong. We may impute to him the heroism of 
Huck Finn, who says, ''All right; I'll go to Hell," when he 
decides out of love to help the escape of the slave. This I 
think is what Ibsenite profundity requires, and it explains 
why Joyce gave himself what seems a very unnecessary warn- 
ing in the secret notes: "The greatest danger in the writing 
of this play is tenderness of speech or of mood." That would 
be awfully embarrassing; much better call the play a "rough- 
and-tumble" between Masoch and de Sade (the notes dash- 
ingly write out their titles at full length ) . 

The situation that Joyce is envisaging, especially in the 
note about Bertha wanting their spiritual union, is clearly 
fundamental to Ulysses. Here is the healing process through 
which Bloom hopes even yet to produce a son. What Joyce 
has in view is a startling transformation of the Eternal 
Triangle; from being one of the inevitable grounds of greed 
and aggression it becomes, one would suppose, the highest 
or most evolved of all forms of human intimacy. However 
much the relations of Bloom and Stephen become a mockery 
of this idea, Joyce had at least once taken it seriously. How 
easily, indeed, one can imagine the Ibsenites calling it the 
New Love, except that that would have been "going so very 
far"; I gather it is still not treated in novels, and would be 
considered a good deal more shocking than homosexuality. 
Like other adventurous minds, able to swing far over with- 
out losing the power to swing back, Joyce spent a good deal 


of time in laughing self-protectively at his own past en- 
thusiasms — as when he pretended he had always only meant 
to guy AE about theosophy. One is left in doubt whether 
he was still taking it seriously (or would have considered it 
a happy ending) when he came to write the novel. 

A very helpful bit of biography, I think, was provided by 
Mr. Richard Ellmann's article The Backgrounds of Ulysses 
{Kenyon Summer '54). It seems that Joyce had a rather odd 
emotional upset during a visit to Dublin in 1909; not long 
before he wrote Exiles, considering how slowly his literary 
plans matured. He met a Vincent Cosgrave, ''an arrogant 
wastrel," the Ur-Lynch with whom he had roystered, who 
''stupefied him by claiming to have betrayed Joyce with 
Nora in 1904"; so Joyce at once went to the legendary 
house No. 7 Eccles St., where the Ur-Cranly Byrne was then 
living, for comfort and advice. This period was when Byrne 
got into the house without a key, to let Joyce in, as Bloom 
does in the novel; Joyce checked the details of the house by 
letter with grotesque care. Byrne in his own memoir {Silent 
Years) describes this call ("never in my life have I seen 
a human being more shattered") but won't say what the 
trouble was; and by the way it is a nuisance, when you con- 
sider how ready some Dubliners are to give you a good story 
for another pint and then jeer at you for beheving it (this of 
course was what Cosgrave had done) that Mr. Ellmann 
doesn't give the sources for his assertions; but I think we 
can feel sure enough that the upset mentioned by Byrne had 
this kind of cause. It turned out, says Mr. Ellmann, that 
Joyce's brother Stanislaus "had happened to meet Cosgrave 
on the very night when Nora rebuffed him. Joyce gradually 
became calmer and some time after went out to buy Nora 
a necklace," and so forth. It is clear then that Joyce's mind 
was hurled onto the subject of cuckoldry by this curious 
Dublin boast, to which he reacted as if the idea was a com- 
plete novelty; and then, as he collected himself, and one 
would like to think wondered why he had believed it, he 

The Theme of Ulysses 151 

gradually came to realize that it had important literary pos- 
sibilities. None of this, I have to admit, sounds as if some- 
thing which greatly cleared his mind on the subject had 
happened on and after Bloomsday, 1904. All the same, we 
have to presume that he acted on his principles; he must 
have decided, after delving into his memories to examine 
his own character and its sources, that something important 
had happened then; the only novelty was that now he had 
learned or had been forced to look at it from the point of 
view of the Ur-Bloom. 

As one considers a man with a keen sense of privacy, 
inflamed no doubt by knowing people like Cosgrave, who 
has yet decided it is his duty to lay his development bare to 
the world, it seems likely that to decide that this theme for 
his epic was the right one brought a keen sense of relief. 
''Thank God I needn't drag my wife in," would be one of 
the first reflections of the novelist famous for his shameless- 
ness. Nora, we are told, was accustomed to say that he had 
first met her on Bloomsday, and that was why they always 
had a party for it; but Mr. Herbert Gorman asserted that 
they had met not on the 16th but on the 10th. She might 
have been helping to keep the secret, while telling the ''es- 
sential truth," but he would be capable of keeping the secret 
from her too. One gathers she was proud of his books but 
not interested in reading them. Joyce might well choose the 
date of Bloomsday on some irrelevant ground of private 
magic, not as the real start of the Ur-Bloom Incident (it 
looks as if he had at least noticed the Ur-Molly when a 
schoolboy); and he needn't have been much struck by Nora 
at their first meeting; but one can well believe that the 
incident was brief and ended with a bang when he took 
Nora seriously. They left Ireland together on the 8th Oc- 
tober. He must have heard considerably later, I think, that 
the Ur-Blooms had succeeded in having a son; and this 
would not be likely to come in the long letters of gossip 
which he got from Dublin, because his relation with the 


Ur-Blooms was a deep secret; so I think he heard of it 
during this visit in 1909, at about the same time as the 
starthng kick about his own wife. The combination would 
thrust the theme on his mind with sufficient force; he would 
take it as an omen, meaning that the happy triangle needed 
to be advanced upon with all his equipment, beginning with 
a historical survey. Always a recklessly courageous man in 
such matters, he would have liked, I think, to pretend that 
they had all three been to bed together, but then he realized 
that he did not know how to make that part up. He may on 
the other hand, as Edmund Wilson suggested long ago in 
AxeVs Castle, simply have felt too shy about the subject to 
describe it plainly. He seems very unhomosexual and rather 
short even of ordinary intimacy with other men, though one 
gathers from Finnegans Wake that he felt a novelist had 
a duty to drag the subject in; to find himself in a triangular 
relation with the Ur-Bloom would be striking for him. After 
trying to look at the arguments all round, I cannot get away 
from feeling that at least an approach to the situation really 

To be convinced that his mind connected Molly, even if 
not Bloom, with a real and haunting memory, one has only, 
I submit, to read the dream, in the Definitive Biography by 
Mr. Herbert Gorman, which he "told to his friends": 

He saw Molly Bloom on a hillock under a sky full of 
moonlit clouds rushing overhead. She had just picked up 
from the grass a child's black coffin and flung it after the 
figure of a man passing down a side road by the field she 
was in. It struck his shoulders, and she said *Tve done 
with you." The man was Bloom seen from behind. There 
was a shout of laughter from some American journalists 
in the road opposite, led by Ezra Pound. Joyce was very 
indignant and vaulted over a gate into the field and strode 
up to her and delivered the one speech of his life. It was 
very long, eloquent and full of passion, explaining all the 
last episode of Ulysses to her. She wore a black opera 
cloak, or sortie de bal, had become slightly grey and looked 

The Theme of Ulysses 153 

like La Duse. She smiled when Joyce ended on an as- 
tronomical climax, and then, bending, picked up a tiny 
snuffbox in the form of a little black coffin, and tossed it 
towards him, saying "And I have done with you too, Mr. 

Then we are told, very oddly, that Joyce had a snuffbox like 
the one she had tossed to him when he was at Clongowes 
Wood College. No doubt his imagination would do almost 
anything, but here it must have had something to work 
upon. '*0 Molly, handsome Molly," he wrote, in a ''parody" 
about this dream, ''Sure you won't let me die?" 

IV. (1962) 

After reading Mr. Ellmann's biography, I no longer be- 
lieve that Ulysses describes a real event in Joyce's life at the 
date he gives. The question mainly turns on the date of 
Bloomsday; I realized that Joyce had stopped Nora in the 
street and taken her name and address on June 10th, so I 
did not believe that June 16th could be related to that in 
his superstitiously literal mind. But letters were then ex- 
changed, and the 16th was the date on which the hotel 
employee first consented to walk out with Joyce; this is the 
decisive date from her side. As to the last paragraph of this 
article, I realize now that the grammar does not have to 
mean "Molly had tossed it to him while he was at the 
college"; I regret losing this interesting picture, but it is only 
fair to Nora to admit the evidence that she had to do the 
main work of healing him from the start. All the same, I 
think most of my article stands, and I still don't believe that 
he had only been to bed with prostitutes before he met 
Nora. Consider the "accommodating widow" in whose 
house the book-title Chamber Music was found so funny; 
she would seem about as much out of place in Dubliners as 
the Dalai Lama. And what, on the other hand, did Joyce 
mean by saying about Ulysses in later life that "the nature 


of the legend chosen would be enough to upset anyone's 
mental balance"? 


1. "The Backgrounds of Ulysses," Kenyon Review, Summer, 


2. James Joyce s Dublin, by Patricia Hutchins. Grey Walls 
Press, 1950. 

3. A correspondent, after this was broadcast, thought Molly 
would be too dirty to bother; but the cautious Bloom seems to 
doubt at one point whether she would find Stephen clean 
enough. By the way if, as we are told, Joyce was in fact at this 
time greatly enjoying the swimming, that is all the more reason 
to think the detail has some purpose. 

4. It seems he vowed in about 1904 that he would write an 
epic of Dublin after ten years; he settled down to the final 
version of Ulysses in 1914, and recalled the vow in the book. 

5. "If there is any difficulty in reading what I write it is be- 
cause of the material I use. In my case the thought is always 

6. Let alone the Joke Theories, such as that Joyce had foisted 
a bastard on the Ur-Bloom, or that Nora was the Ur-Milly. 

The Yankee Interviewer in Ulysses 


WHATEVER esoteric and symbolistic significances the 
book may have, Ulysses tells us much about human nature, 
particularly in its delightful Dublin form. For more than a 
century the Irish cult of personality has found expression 
in anecdotes. Dubliners still recall Dr. William Wilde, his 
sensational wife ''Speranza," and his more sensational son 
Oscar. Gogarty brings to life the master wits of Trinity, 
Mahaffy and Tyrrell. During the revival, the key figures for 
such gossip were ''Willie'' Yeats and ''jimmy' Joyce. Joyce 
was early noted as a character, an ''artist," in the slang of 
the period, who was expert at borrowing, and more expert 
at insulting his seniors. 

Ulysses is filled with local tales, real and fictional, and 
Joyce, we know, never needed to invent epiphanies when he 
could find them in actuality. An event, whether sublime or 
trivial, "an old woman praying, or a young man fastening his 
shoe," to quote his 1902 Mangan essay, is enough for one 
"to see what is there well done and how much it signifies." 
Though he once characterized his native city as a center of 
paralysis — a hint that has been dutifully exploited by com- 
mentators — he has never been accused of being deaf to 

RICHARD M. KAIN tcdches a course on Joyce at the University of 
Louisville, where he is Professor of English. He has published 
Fabulous Voyager: James Joyce's "Ulysses" and collaborated on 
Joyce: The Man, the Work, the Reputation. Mr. Kain is now a 
Fulbright Professor in Italy. 

156 KAIN 

local anecdote. During Bloomsday we hear of the Hamlet 
theory of Stephen Dedalus (actually James Joyce), of how 
the Phoenix Park murders were scooped by the journalist 
Ignatius Gallaher (actually Fred Gallaher), of the com- 
ments on Stephen by Professor Magennis (actually Pro- 
fessor Magennis). The hst is endless, and much of the 
Dublin background has been skillfully recreated by Richard 
Ellmann, as well as by other scholars. 

One episode has not been hitherto noticed. At the office 
of the Freeman s Journal on the uneventful morning in 1904 
a discussion of oratory is interrupted by an anecdote about 
Stephen Dedalus which J. J. O'Molloy has heard from Pro- 
fessor Magennis: ''A.E. has been telling some yankee inter- 
viewer that you came to him in the small hours of the 
morning to ask him about planes of consciousness." The 
professor, who in fact had been kind to Joyce at University 
College, knew his man well enough to wonder whether it 
might have been a leg-pull. Joyce would love this tale, both 
because it is enigmatic, and, more importantly, because it is 
about himself. 

The story was told by the yankee nine years later. In 
Irish Plays and Playwrights (1913), Professor Cornehus 
Weygandt of the University of Pennsylvania presented his 
first-hand interpretations of modern Irish writers, gained 
largely during his visit to Dublin in 1902. He was thus one 
of the earliest American pilgrims to literary Dublin, and one 
of the first to notice James Joyce, albeit without using the 
name. In his chapter on Russell Professor Weygandt illus- 
trated the influence and the versatility of ''A.E." by telling 
how a boy waited for him late one night on a street corner. 
Too timid to come to the poet, the young man had to be 
questioned as to which of Russell's diverse fields — eco- 
nomics, mysticism, or literature — interested him. It was, of 
course, literature. Russell found Joyce "an exquisite who 
thought the literary movement was becoming vulgarized." 
Moreover, he had become "infected with Pater's Relative/' 

^ - y^ ^ ^/fe {U-.^ ^ ^ &uj 

CUU ^ ..^.r.^^^. e^ U^ 3 JU: ^.^ 

Manuscript pages of ''Gas from a Burner" described in 
the essay by Robert Scholes on ''The Broadsides of 
James Joyce.*' Joyce wrote this pasquinade in 1912, 
upon his departure from hehnd. The manuscript, 
which was among the Joyce papers purchased from the 
widow oi Stanislaus Joyce by Cornel] Vniveisity, also 
throws some hght on how Joyce obtained the set of 
page proofs of Dubliners printed by Falconer. The sec- 
ond draft of "Gas from a Burner" is written on the 
hack of an unsigned, typed agreement in which Joyce 
agreed to revise the proofs of Dubliners to the satisfac- 
tion of the pubhsher, MaunseJ and Company. Repro- 
duced by courtesy of the Cornell University Librar}^. 


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The Yankee Interviewer in Ulysses 157 

as was borne out by his reaction to Russell. When he learned 
that A.E. sought the absolute, *'he again sighed, this time 
regretfully, and said decidedly that *A.E/ could not be his 
Messiah, as he abhorred the Absolute above everything else." 
This is the point of Russell's remark to Sarah Purser in a 
letter of August 15, 1902, quoted by Richard Ellmann: *'I 
wouldn't be his Messiah for a thousand million pounds. He 
would always be criticising the bad taste of his deity." 
Professor Weygandt concluded his anecdote with an echo 
of the final exit of Marchbanks in Candida: *'So the boy — 
he was not yet twenty-one — went out into the night with, 
I suppose, another of his idols fallen." Though an idol may 
have fallen, with "A.E." turning out to be another Morrell, 
the young poet, like Shaw's Marchbanks, had his secret. We 
have been exploring this secret for almost fifty years now, 
often with frustration, but, happily, more frequently with 

The Happy Hunting Ground: 



"Shakespeare is the happy hunting ground 
of all minds that have lost their balance.'' 


JOYCE'S fascination for Shakespeare and his use of 
him fuse in the ''Scylla and Charybdis" episode of Ulysses.^ 
In that section the Shakespearean parallels, allusions, echoes 
and references are ordered into a pattern, rich in detail, rare 
in texture and weighted with symbolic complexity. Elucida- 
tion of the meaning of ''Scylla and Charybdis," in relation 
to the work as a whole, has been the subject of several 
studies. This essay does not attempt to work that extremely 
fertile ground.^ It is simply concerned with the structure of 
the episode and in particular with a structural pattern which 
has so far escaped notice. 

Gathered in the office of the Chief Librarian of the Na- 
tional Library, Kildare Street, at 2 p.m. on the afternoon 
of 16 June, 1904, are Thomas Lyster (the Director), Wil- 
ham Kirkpatrick Magee (Assistant Librarian), Richard Best 
(Assistant Librarian), George Russell (Poet and Mystic), 
and Stephen Dedalus (Schoolmaster). To his companions 
Stephen Dedalus propounds a theory concerning Shake- 
speare's life and its relationship to his works. The subject 

TREVOR LENNAM tedckes at the University of New Brunswick and 
in 1962 was in residence at the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford- 


The Happy Hunting Ground 159 

is of special interest to Stephen for two reasons: first, he 
considers Shakespeare an example of creative genius, a role 
to which he himself aspires; and second, he feels that un- 
ravelling the facts of Shakespeare's life will provide evidence 
for his own aesthetic theory, especially the central place in 
it of the artist as creator. 

Stephen's exposition, which is a series of dramatic and 
dubious revelations, artfully contrived and persuasively 
argued, is subject to a number of interruptions. Lyster comes 
and goes upon official duties; Russell discreetly withdraws, 
excusing himself on literary business; a newcomer, Malachi 
Mulligan, joins the company; and Leopold Bloom makes a 
fleeting appearance. 

By the afternoon of 16 June, 1904, we have come to know 
a good deal about Stephen, Mulligan and Bloom. Of Russell 
we have had only the briefest glimpse, as he emerged from 
the Vegetarian Restaurant a little after one o'clock, ac- 
companied by an attentive woman, and wheeled his bicycle 
up the street, in all probability on his way to the library 
{16^), The Librarians, however, are fresh figures on the vast 
canvas of Ulysses. 

Thomas W. Lyster, it seems, was a conscientious and effi- 
cient librarian, dedicated to the service of his profession and 
to Irish scholarship. He was, at this time, forty-nine years of 
age and had been the Director of the National Library since 
1895. ^^ ^^s ^^^" described as ^'Dowden's most ardent disci- 
ple," and was apparently given to echoing his master with 
enthusiastic repetitiousness. This tedious pedantry coupled 
with only a rudimentary sense of humour made him rather a 
vulnerable figure of fun.^ 

William Kirkpatrick Magee, better known under his pseu- 
donym John Eglinton, joined the Staff of the National Li- 
brary in 1900. He had, by the time of this meeting, already 
made his mark as a subtle thinker, essayist and critic. He was 
the editor of Dandy the magazine to which Stephen Dedalus 
hoped to contribute his article on Shakespeare, and the au- 


thor of Two Essays on The Remnant (1894) ^^^ Pebbles 
from a Brook (1901), works which Stephen acknowledges 
having read. Although a contributor to the Irish Literary 
Revival, Eglinton was also one of its most stringent critics. 
He did not share Russell's confidence "in the regeneration 
of the Irish people by inducing 'spirituality' into their life/' 
nor the poet's enthusiasm for the Irish Peasantry. ''His chief 
concern was with the individual thinker, the man who forces 
himself to push aside facile solutions and popular dogmas 
in order to confront fundamental issues without a compro- 
mise." ^ Reticent, modest, independent and with a notable, 
if somewhat exclusive, literary reputation, John Eglinton is 
Stephen's chief opponent in the argument which follows. 

The third Librarian, Richard Irvine Best, was the young- 
est and newest member of the Staff. He was later to make a 
reputation as a scholar in Celtic Studies. He had already by 
1903 brought out a translation of H. d'A. de Jubainville's 
The Irish Mythological Cycle and Celtic Mythology^ the 
first of his many books which were to contribute to the Re- 
vival. In 1904, none the less. Best appeared to his contempo- 
raries as a literary dilettante rather than a scholar. His en- 
thusiasm for Wilde, his sartorial affectations, prim, mincing 
manner and "beautiful shining hair and features so fine and 
delicate" ^ all combined to give the impression of an aesthete 
and a fop. 

To these three Librarians and to Russell until he exits, 
Stephen expounds his Shakespeare theories. Their reactions 
are varied. Lyster is, between his departures and returns, po- 
litely curious; Best is enthusiastic and intrigued; Eglinton is 
sceptical and critical. Russell alone is uninterested. After 
registering a protest at "this prying into the family life of a 
great man" and scornfully suggesting that it is "interesting 
only to the parish clerk" {i8y), he excuses himself and 

Although Stephen's remaining auditors are very willing to 
hear him out, he regards them with some hostility. Lyster's 

The Happy Hunting Ground 161 

obsequious affability is observed by Stephen and recorded 
in his thought-stream with mocking emphasis. Best's youth- 
ful and effeminate appearance, his jejune aestheticism and 
his verbal inanities are all sharply and contemptuously de- 
lineated. As for Eglinton, his keen and critical wit and his 
knowledge of Shakespeare very quickly distinguish him, in 
Stephen's mind, as the main opponent to whom he must ad- 
dress his theory. 

All four listeners have two attributes in common which 
vex Stephen. They have already established, or, in the case 
of Best, begun to establish, a literary reputation. Further, 
they have all identified themselves, in one way or another, 
with the Irish Literary Renaissance, a movement which Ste- 
phen professes to despise and from which he has scornfully 
dissociated himself. Stephen uneasily faces his literary foes. 
Envious of their assured positions and their growing reputa- 
tions, he masks his isolation and discontent with calculated 
arrogance and barbed hostility. In doing so, he once more 
assumes the role of Hamlet, whose predicament he has al- 
ready identified with his own. 

Both the Dedalus-Hamlet and the Bloom-Shakespeare 
parallels have been thoroughly explored: neither needs 
further treatment here. No one, so far as I know, however, 
has suggested that in the "Scylla and Charybdis" episode 
some further identifications may be made with the char- 
acters of Shakespeare's plays. These are: Lyster with Polo- 
nius, Eglinton with Laertes, Best with Osric, and Russell 
with the Ghost. Mulligan, as I shall endeavour to show, 
plays the Fool. 

The glimpses that we have of Russell are of a figure deep 
in shadow. His face is ''bearded amid darkgreener shadow" 
(182). He ''oracled out of his shadow" (1S3). He "rose from 
shadow" (1S9). At one point Stephen has a mock vision of 
Russell sitting cross-legged under an umbrel umbershoot 
ringed by disciples and communing with the spirit world, 
"hesouls, shesouls, shoals of souls. Engulfed with wailing 


creecries, whirled, whirling, they bewail" (189). He has little 
to contribute to the argument. When he does, his state- 
ment is ''oracular." After one disapproving intervention of 
Russell's, Stephen repeats to himself Hamlet's question put 
to the voice from the cellarage, ''Art thou there true- 
penny?" ^ Like the Ghost in Hamlet Russell makes only a 
brief stay. Uninterested in Stephen's thesis, he takes his 
leave "more in sorrow than in anger," we may be sure. He 
gives his reason, "I am afraid I am due at the Homestead" 
(189), which, despite his phrasing, is perhaps not a very 
"fearful summons." Nevertheless he obeys it. Unveihng "his 
cooperative watch" he is as conscious of the hour as Hamlet's 
Ghost, which "faded at the crowing of a cock." It is not 
surprising, therefore, to find that Russell, when he next ap- 
pears (in "Circe") does so as the ghost of Mananaan Maclir, 
clad in druidic mantle and mumbling with a "voice of the 
waves" (499)/ 

Thomas W. Lyster is the 'Lord Chamberlain' of the Na- 
tional Library. Like the holder of the same Office at Elsinore, 
he is a busy, affable and earnest host. Lyster's frequent 
comings and goings throughout the episode are similar to 
Polonius' appearances and reappearances at Court, where 
domestic and official duties have claims upon him. Like 
Lyster, Polonius dances attendance, though to be sure, not 
with such a variety of movement. If a contemptuous re- 
mark of Hamlet's to the First Player is to be believed, 
Polonius is "for a jig and a tale of bawdry" rather than for 
the courtly steps Lyster performs. Lyster's zeal in the service 
of his profession was notable. Stephen observes him "zealous 
by the door" {182) and "bald, most, zealous" {182). Polo- 
nius, too, is zealous, a characteristic, it would be true to say, 
partly responsible for his undoing. Besides diligence, Lyster 
shares another attribute with Polonius. His conspicuous ears 
were a prominent feature of his bald head and Stephen ob- 
serves him "eared, assiduous" {188). His "friendly, earnest" 
disposition attended all who approached him with any 

The Happy Hunting Ground 163 

request, however trivial. Polonius' counsel to Laertes, ''give 
every man thy ear" and ''Take each man's censure but 
reserve thy judgment/' bespeaks his auditive attentiveness. 
That Polonius practices v^hat he preaches is only too clear. 
The Chamberlain, assiduous and eared behind the arras, is 
fatally rewarded for this propensity. Another mutual feature 
is their volubility.^ Stephen refers to Lyster as "voluble, 
dutiful" (198) and later as talking "with voluble pains of 
zeal, in duty bound, most fair, most kind" (198). This trait 
in Polonius is only too obvious and needs no emphasis. 
Hamlet sums him up in a succinct epitaph: 

Indeed this counsellor 
Is now most still, most secret and most grave. 
Who was in Uie a iooUsh prating knave. 


It has already been noted that Lyster's younger contemporaries 
found him ludicrous and tedious at times, and certainly 
Stephen's contempt for him is plain. Lyster opens the de- 
bate with some generalizations of Goethe about Shake- 
speare, the obviousness of which draws Stephen's sneering 
reference to "Monsieur de la Palisse" (182). Polonius is 
similarly the target of Hamlet's unconcealed scorn. "That 
great baby you see there is not yet out of his swaddling 
clouts" and "Thou wretched rash intruding fool" are suffi- 
cient evidence for it. Hamlet's view of Polonius, the as- 
siduous, prating bore, has much in common with Stephen's 
view of "the bald pink lollard costard, guiltless though 
maligned" {188) Director of the National Library. 

" 'Fore God, my lord, well-spoken, with good accent and 
good discretion," says Polonius approvingly of Hamlet's 
speaking of Aeneas' lines before the players at Elsinore 
(ii.ii). And later Hamlet's advice to the players confirms 
Polonius' judgment. The Prince is an understanding and 
judicious critic with a penetrating insight into the player's 
art. That Hamlet is no mere theoretician but a talented 


mimic as well, is demonstrated in an amusing scene when 
he and Horatio are confronted by Osric (v.ii.).^ The fashion- 
able "waterfly" in winged doublet and feathered cap, whose 
posturings and stilted language are mocked, is a butt for 
Hamlet's gift. In the 'study' or 'inner room' of the National 
Library, Stephen likewise confirms Malachi Mulligan's esti- 
mate of his histrionic talent, ''O, you peerless mummer!" 

{197) }" 

Stephen, like Hamlet, has a subject for mockery at hand, 
Richard Irvine Best, the assistant librarian. Best parallels 
Osric in several ways. Both are young, both are foppish and 
both possess irritating vocal and gesticulatory mannerisms. 
Best's youthfulness is emphasized. He is "young, mild, light" 
{iS^), ''a. blond ephebe" (196), and a "douce youngling" 
{21^). Osric is similarly represented. "Enter young Osricke" 
{Folio v.ii), "Give them the Foyles yong Osricke" {Folio 
v.ii) and "My Lord, his majesty commended him to you by 
young Osric" (v.ii). Osric's sartorial refinements have already 
been mentioned. Best, too, is a dandy. Stephen thinks, "You 
would give your five wits for youth's proud livery he pranks 
in" (196), and elsewhere describes Best as a "minion of 
pleasure" (213), and as the "well pleased pleaser" (189). 
Osric possesses a feathered bonnet and is much given to 
elegant displays of it, an affectation which draws Hamlet's 
scorn. Best enters the room carrying "with grace a note- 
book, new, large, clean and bright" {18^). Later he is ob- 
served "raising his new book, gladly, brightly" (189), and 
"hfting his brilhant notebook" (196); finally "Mr. Best ea- 
gerlyquietly hfted his book" {208). Nor is Best's free hand 
entirely idle. On one occasion Stephen watches him write 
"tiny signs in the air" {18^). These flourishes emulate 
Osric's perhaps more expansive gestures. At any rate they 
irritate Stephen, who observes to himself with contempt, 
"His private papers in the original" (192). 

In no way are these two exquisites more alike than in 
their language. Osric's affected, ingratiating pomposity is 

The Happy Hunting Ground 165 

neatly taken off by Hamlet. Upon the young courtier's de- 
parture, Horatio comments: ''This lapwing runs away with 
the shell on his head." The Prince replies: 

He did comply with his dug, before he sucked it. Thus 
has he — and many more of the same breed that I know 
the drossy age dotes on — only got the tune of the time 
and outward habit of encounter; a kind of yesty collection, 
which carries them through and through the most fond 
and winnowed opinions; and do but blow them to their 
trial, the bubbles are out. [v.ii.i 93-202 

Best's "tune of the time and outward habit of encounter" 
are, as Schutte has pointed out, the aesthetic movement 
headed by Pater and Wilde. Certainly he is an admirer of 
Wilde (196) and appears "to be trying hard to imitate 
Wilde's manner." ^^ His contributions, however, are for the 
most part feeble, sometimes irrelevant, and often simply 
silly; truly a "yesty collection," words blown out "upon the 
topmost froth of thought." His irritating repetitive gestures 
are accompanied by equally irritating repetitive statements. 
He uses the phrase "don't you know" in this fashion, a habit 
which parallels Osric's "My Lord," "Good Lord," "Sweet 
Lord." (v.ii) 12 

About midway in the discussion the tempo of Stephen's 
exposition increases as his narrative moves forward to a 
climax. The excitement is reflected in the librarians grouped 
around him. They are, at this moment, silent, attentively 
following the patterns of Stephen's argument as they emerge 
and cohere. Stephen is very conscious of the spell that he has 
cast and also of his own casuistry, "They list. And in the 
porches of their ears I pour" (194). He has still much 
ground to cover, further revelations to unfold and more 
complex strands to weave into the brilliant fabric of his 
exposition. At this moment of dramatic climax he is inter- 
rupted, though, by an entrance; the tension is broken. What 
immediately follows is an entr'acte — as Stephen at once 
recognises (195) —which provides a natural diminution of 


tension, and which gives him a brief respite before the 
resumption of his argument. The interrupter and chief 
figure of this small scene is his friend and ''enemy" (195) 
Malachi Mulligan, and he is playing the Fool — 'Tuck 
Mulligan" {210)}^ 

It is for Mulligan a familiar role. He is here (as his dress 
and behaviour confirm) an 'allowed' or 'licensed' Fool. Ste- 
phen notes his "ribald face" (195), ''his head wagging" 
(196), his "happy patch's smirk" (214). Mulligan is dressed 
and equipped appropriately, "blithe in motley" {195) and 
carrying a "bauble," his doffed Panama hat. Throughout the 
remainder of this episode Mulligan performs his part. Being 
a 'licensed' Fool, his jests, jibes and antics often have a 
sharp edge. He can "gag sweetly" {20^ ) and also speak with 
"honeying mahce" (-211). He can chant a snatch of verse 
or be seen "footed featly, trilling" a lewd lyric {21^). He is 
popular with them all, a gay, privileged, jesting figure likely 
to be, at any moment, quite outrageous. Fuck Mulligan is 
irrepressible and Stephen thinks of him as "My whetstone" 
{208).^'^ Though Mulligan wears motley (his primrose waist- 
coat) and for the most part plays the Fool, he does resort 
to traditional clowning. At the close of the episode, for 
instance, he proposes a lascivious jig, "Everyman His Own 
Wife" {21^) which, as the full subtitle and cast suggest, 
promises to be as bawdy a tale as any.^^ 

Before examining Stephen's remaining auditor and most 
formidable opponent, one should mention two other figures. 
These are Haines, who is referred to in two passages, and 
Bloom, who crosses the threshold "a patient silhouette," "a 
bowing dark figure." 

The Englishman Haines had been at the Library talking 
to Best a little before the discussion began. Best, on his ar- 
rival, explains to the assembled company that "he couldn't 
bring him [Haines] in to hear the discussion" and that he 
had gone to buy Hyde's Love Songs of Connacht. Earlier 
that morning Haines, while walking with Mulligan and 

The Happy Hunting Ground 167 

Stephen, had shown more than a casual interest in Stephen's 
views on Hamlet. Indeed, he had admitted, "you pique my 
curiosity," and among other questions had asked, "Is it 
some paradox?" (19). Nor was this all. Haines had con- 
nected the Martello Tower and the Sandymount Cliffs with 
"Elsinore 'That beetles o'er his base into the sea! " Imme- 
diately following this statement Stephen has a moment of 
revelation. "In the bright silent instant Stephen saw his 
own image in cheap dusty mourning between their gay at- 
tires" (20). As Schutte points out, Stephen sees himself as 
Hamlet in mourning, flanked by Mulligan and Haines as 
Rosencrantz and Guildernstern, each in gay attire. "Both 
are his enemies, though both pretend to be — and perhaps 
believe they are — his friends. Like Claudius' spies, Haines 
has been trying to pry out of his enigmatic friend what is 
in fact the secret of his life. Like them Haines is not adroit 
in his questioning; like them he fails; and like them he will 
not be present for the final self-exposure of the hero." ^^ 

The company in the inner room is more conscious of 
Bloom's presence. He is glimpsed by Stephen very briefly 
as he is attended by Lyster and conducted to the newspaper 
files. He does not, however, escape the Fool's characteristic 
scurrility (198). When Stephen and Mulligan leave the 
Library, Bloom passes "between them bowing, greeting" 
{21^). Bloom's relationship to Shakespeare within the sym- 
bolic framework of Ulysses has received extended treatment 
in other studies. Suffice it here to say that the appearance of 
the player Shakespeare, albeit in a very minor role, and as 
fleeting as a ghost's, is not inappropriate to the drama 
enacted in the 'study.' ^^ 

Once Stephen is launched upon the mainstream of his 
argument, he is quick to perceive that John Eglinton is his 
main antagonist. Lyster's conscientious attendance to Li- 
brary business precludes him from participating to any 
worthwhile extent. As for Best, his contributions are limited 
to verbal antics, digressions and self-displays. Stephen con- 


temptuously records these and addresses himself seriously to 
Eglinton. It is with Eglinton that he duels. The thrust, 
parry and counter-thrust of their debate is at times vigorous 
and sharp. Eglinton plays Laertes. 

There are several parallels which suggest this identifica- 
tion. Stephen's attitude to his opponent is ambivalent, a 
mixture of envy and respect. Stephen is envious of Eglinton's 
established and growing literary reputation and self-con- 
sciously aware that his own creative output is a mere ''cap- 
full of odes" and that he is no more than a ''bullockbefriend- 
ing bard." On the other hand, Eglinton's independence of 
mind and his critical attitude towards the excesses of the 
Irish Literary Renaissance are respected by Stephen. Ste- 
phen has read Eglinton's work with care enough to be able 
to quote it deftly. Hamlet's envy of Laertes is less easy to 
assert. Claudius, of course, confirms it, but then he is a 
poor witness: 

Sir, this report of his 
Did Hamlet so envenom with his envy 
That he couJd nothing do hut wish and beg 
Your sudden coming o'er, to play with him. 


Nevertheless it cannot be entirely dismissed. As for the 
Prince's goodwill towards Laertes, does he not say, 

Give me your pardon, Sir: I've done you wrong; 
But pardon't, as you are a gentleman, 


as earlier he had admitted to Horatio, 

But I am very sorry, good Hoiatio, 
That to Laertes I forgot myself; 
For by the image of my cause, I see 
The portraiture of his. 


The Happy Hunting Ground 169 

Like Stephen, Hamlet feels that his antagonist holds his 
''follies hostage" {182). A wish to placate and make amends 
is present in both. Hamlet confides to Horatio, 'Til court 
his favour." Stephen courts Eglinton with a soothing refer- 
ence to his published work {20^) ^ and thinks, "Flatter. 
Rarely. But Flatter." 

The likeness between them is strengthened by the manner 
in which anger and bitterness are gradually modified. The 
sense of estrangement and suspicion gives place to a recon- 
ciliation. At the outset of the episode, a strong undercurrent 
of hostility flows between them. Stephen's observations of 
Eglinton are tinged with malice. He notes him "glittereyed" 
{182), his "carper's skull" {188), and "the bane of mis- 
creant eyes, glinting stern under wrinkled brows. A basilisk" 
(192). As the discussion proceeds, hostile references such as 
these are modulated and then disappear. The glittering eyes 
which remind Stephen of a serpent are later associated with 
a pleasant memory of Charenton and the "Old wall where 
sudden lizards flash" {200), just as "carper" and "mocker" 
become "steadfast John" {202). Nor is this shift of attitude 
evident merely in Stephen. Eglinton, like Laertes, is at first 
antagonistic and does not conceal his dislike. He twits Ste- 
phen's arrogance with "elder's gall" {182) and belittles Ste- 
phen's intention, "Like the Fat Boy in Pickwick he wants to 
make our flesh creep" {18^). On one occasion his anger 
bubbles up, "Upon my word it makes my blood boil to 
hear anyone compare Aristotle with Plato" (1S4), a very 
Laertes-like outburst. Like Laertes who, after the duel, asks, 
"Exchange forgiveness with me noble Hamlet," Eglinton's 
early scorn and bitterness are replaced by a more sympathetic 
attitude towards Stephen's theory. Evidence for this gradual 
change of feeling is surely clinched when Eglinton, imme- 
diately before Stephen's concluding statement, exclaims, 
echoing Dumas, "After God Shakespeare created most" 
{210). This is precisely one of the basic themes Stephen has 
woven into his final and comprehensive summary. 


There are also some interesting resemblances between the 
two duels. The weapons mentioned by Osric, when he 
dehvers the challenge, are rapier and dagger. ''Unsheathe 
your dagger definitions" (1S4), thinks Stephen, shortly be- 
fore the argument assumes the cut and thrust of debate. As 
for the rapier or 'foil/ an unmistakable allusion to it is made, 
as we shall see in a moment. 

Laertes and Hamlet fight only three of the intended dozen 
bouts before the fatal strokes are exchanged. At the con- 
clusion of each bout, two of which are in Hamlet's favour, 
the third being inconclusive, either Osric or Laertes acknowl- 
edges the outcome. Similarly, the verbal duel between 
Stephen and Eglinton has dialectical climaxes which ap- 
pear to be the equivalent of these moments of triumph. The 
first of these, which follows a long struggle between the 
contestants in which Eghnton holds his own and manages 
to deliver some fine thrusts, is the citation by Stephen of 
the evidence contained in Shakespeare's will of the bequest 
of a second best bed. Osric's statement, "A hit. A very 
palpable hit," is paralleled by Best's rather obvious affirma- 
tion, "It is clear that there were two beds, a best and a 
second best" {201). The second decisive moment occurs 
when Stephen 'proves' that Shakespeare employed his own 
family situations in his plays. Eglinton does not challenge 
Stephen's bold assertions but merely assents, "The plot 
thickens" {206), thereby allowing Stephen the point. The 
final and inconclusive bout follows. Stephen extends the 
identification of Shakespeare's brothers, Richard and Ed- 
mund, with Shakespearean villains and speciously throws in 
the evidence of the "firedrake" knowing it to be false. At 
this moment Stephen appears to be victorious. He notes his 
auditors, "Both satisfied" {2oy). However, Eglinton then 
comments, "Your own name is strange enough. I suppose 
it explains your fantastical humour" {208), It is a telling 
riposte. Stephen's confidence ebbs as the train of his thought 
leads him to consider the "Fabulous Artificer" and the ig- 

The Happy Hunting Ground 171 

nominious reality of his own failure at flight. Far from being 
a Daedalus, the hawk-like man, he sees himself as Icarus, the 
lapwing. Of this climax ''Nothing neither way" is apt judg- 

The duel then enters its final phase. It is set off by a 
striking allusion, '7^^^ Eglinton touched the foil.^^ — 
Come, he said, Let us hear what you have to say of Richard 
and Edmund. You kept them for the last, didn't you?'' 
{208). It was after the third bout that Laertes made his 
fatal thrust with the 'bated' foil. Eglinton's challenging 
"come" echoes the conventional duelling term which both 
Hamlet and Laertes use before attacking. 

The Hamlet identifications in the "Scylla and Charybdis" 
indicated above might appear, at first glance, to add a 
gratuitous complexity to the structure of the episode. Joyce 
has, however, merely extended a process begun in "Telem- 
achus," where the Stephen-Hamlet parallel is first suggested. 
This extension is not only artistically appropriate, it is 
quite logical. As Philip Toynbee has observed, the Hamlet 
theme "is architectural rather than musical for its reap- 
pearances are not so much evocative as constructional." ^^ 
By correlating suggestively rather than in detail the figures 
of the Librarians, AE, and Gogarty with Shakespeare's char- 
acters, Joyce has succeeded in intensifying and dramatising 
Stephen's general predicament, that of his isolation from his 
environment. This episode dramatically illustrates his intel- 
lectual dislocation from contemporaries whose literary and 
artistic interests, far from forming a sympathetic bond, ap- 
pear wholly alien to his own. Further, the frequency of the 
verbal echoes of Hamlet together with the visual effect of 
the advertisement-playbill mentioned by Best {18^), 




Piece de Shakespeare 


reinforce the suggestion that Joyce, in the "Scylla and 
Charybdis" episode, intended to keep Shakespeare^s play in 
the forefront of his overall design. 

Another aspect of the structure of this episode illuminates 
Joyce's characterization. The technique that Joyce employs 
here, as elsewhere in Ulysses, is one of significant corre- 
spondences. By correlating the real-life persons in the Na- 
tional Library with the creations of Shakespeare's imagina- 
tion, Joyce presents us with vivid re-creations, which are the 
result of a controlled balance of fact and fiction. Thus 
Ellmann's interpretation of the sketch of Dr. Richard Best 
as the product of Joyce's "pique at Best's refusal to lend him 
money in Dublin" is unacceptable without qualification.^^ 
As we have seen, the portrait of Best is justified by its 
artistic purpose and does not simply spring from an emo- 
tional state. Stanislaus Joyce has said of his brother, ''Justice 
towards the characters of his own creation, or imaginative 
recreation, became an artistic principle with him." ^^ 


1. References to Ulysses (New York: Modern Library, 1946) 
are by page number enclosed in parentheses. References to Ham- 
let are from The Globe Edition (London, 1956) unless other- 
wise stated. 

2. William M. Schutte's Joyce and Shakespeare: A Study in 
the Meaning of Ulysses (New Haven, 1957) is the most thor- 
ough and I am much indebted to it. I should like to acknowledge 
also the helpful discussion and criticism of Dr. J. K. Johnstone. 

3. See Stephen Gwynn, Experiences of a Literary Man (New 
York, 1926), pp. 64-65. For this and sketches of the other 
librarians see Mary and Padraic Colum, Our Friend James 
Joyce (New York, 1958), pp. 28-34; ^^^^ Schutte, Ch. in. 

4. Schutte, pp. 42-44. 

5. George Moore, Salve, cited by Schutte, p. 37. 

6. Calvin Edwards in "The Hamlet Motif in Joyce's Ulysses/' 
Western Review, xv (1950), mistakenly takes this as a reference 
to Bloom hovering outside the room. 

The Happy Hunting Ground 173 

7. Oliver St. J. Gogarty in As I Was Going Down Sackville 
Street (London, 1937), p. 283, records AE's appearance as the 
ghost in his own play ''Deirdre": "The golden-brown beard and 
full, fresh-cheeked face appeared. A sonorous voice chanted one 
long name: Mananann [sic] Mac Lir. It was the author, AE! 
Shakespeare is said to have played the ghost in 'Hamlet' because 
he had a fine voice. AE's only appearance on the stage was a 
partial appearance, the head of the God of the Waves of Erin, 
Mananann, the Son of Lir." 

8. Gogarty, pp. 8-16 gives an example of this characteristic 
of Lyster: see also Mary and Padraic Colum, p. 30. 

9. See Dover- Wilson's discussion of Osric's dress in The New 
Cambridge edition of Hamlet (1941), Notes, pp. 243-45. 

10. See also p. 7, ''Kinch, the loveliest mummer of them all" 
and p. 213, "Mournfull mummer, Buck Mulligan moaned." 

11. Schutte, p. 37. 

12. Schutte notes that Best uses this phrase no less than 
fourteen times, p. 38. Osric's varied salutations number eighteen 
in this small scene. 

13. See Schutte for discussion of Mulligan as Glaudius. Ch. 

14. In "Circe" Mulligan appears "in particoloured jester's 
dress of puce and yellow and clown's cap with curling bell . . . 
a smoking buttered scone in his hand" (565). 

15. The theatrical jig was a lyrical farce, written in rhyme 
and sung and danced to ballad measure, traditionally executed 
by the clown as an afterpiece to the Play. 

16. Schutte, p. 20. 

17. Patricia Hutchins, James Joyce's Dublin (London, 1950), 
p. 77, notes, "The 'discreet vaulted cell' where the discussion 
in Ulysses takes place, may have been based on the room used 
by Mr. Lyster, 'John Eglinton' and Dr. Best which lies behind 
the counter and was only lit by a roof light at the time." 

18. I am not sure what it is Eglinton has touched. It might 
be something to do with the lamp, a foil reflector, or perhaps 
a counterfoil lying on the desk. In a letter to me Dr. R. J. Hayes, 
the Director of The National Library, writes, "the word 'foil' is 
not used in the National Library," and suggests, "that 'foil' in 
this context is the reader's docket handed in by the attendant 
for the item which Fr. Dinneen (Dineen) required." 


19. "A Study of James Joyce," James Joyce: Two Decades of 
Criticism, ed. Seon Givens (New York, 1948), p. 257; see also 
'The Hamlet of Stephen Dedalus" by William Peery, Studies 
in English, University of Texas, xxxi (1952), 119. 

20. 'The Backgrounds of Ulysses," The Kenyon RevieWy 
XVI (1954), 337-38- 

21. My Brother's Keeper, ed. Richard Ellmann (London, 
1958), p. 87. 

Blake in Nighttown 


AT a number of points in Ulysses, William Blake's intel- 
lectual presence makes itself felt through the consciousness 
of Stephen Dedalus. The passages in question do much to 
establish a similarity between Stephen's way of looking at 
the world and Blake's, for the Blakean material is not merely 
quoted but used, worked closely into the texture of Joyce's 
own style. And even more striking than such verbal parallels 
are the broad conceptual resemblances between these two 
mythmakers: the organ symbolism of Jerusalem and Ulysses, 
the giants Albion and Finnegan as epitomes of humanity, 
London and Dublin as models of the universe. We may be 
tempted to speak of "influence," but there is something more 
important and alive at work here. It would be more 
to the point to say that Joyce, in the process of choosing — 
and thereby creating — a tradition, as every great artist must, 
realized that Blake participated in that tradition. There was, 
in addition to the intrinsic interest of Blake's poetry, the 
use Blake had made of sources of symbol and allusion which 
were also Joyce's — the Old and New Testaments, the 
Kabala, Swedenborg, Jacob Boehme, Milton, Shakespeare, 
Dante, Paracelsus.^ For example, we are not sure of whether 

MORTON D. PALEY tcdches dt The City College in New York. He 
has published poems in Riverside Poetry, Prairie Schooner, Chicago 
Choice and elsewhere. He is currently at work on a study of Blake's 
concept of Imagination. 

176 PALEY 

Joyce has his own interests in mind or Blake's when he says 
in his Blake lecture: ''Eternity . . . appeared to the Swedish 
mystic [Swedenborg] in the likeness of a heavenly man, 
animated in all his limbs by a fluid angelic life that forever 
leaves and re-enters, systole and diastole of love and wis- 
dom/' 2 

It is, therefore, the awareness of a shared literary tradition, 
a tradition of esoteric symbolism, that informs Joyce's in- 
terest in Blake's poetry. This awareness allowed Joyce to look 
at the world through Blake's eyes when it suited his pur- 
poses to do so, and to attempt a Blakean style for such 
occasions. It also enabled him to empathize with Blake's 
personal experiences, perhaps to the point of patterning an 
episode in Ulysses upon one of them. I refer to Stephen's 
encounter with Private Carr. Before we consider this, how- 
ever, it will be useful to review those passages in Ulysses 
which undoubtedly have to do with Blake.^ 

Blake first crops up in Stephen's mind during the history 
lesson of the second chapter: 'Tabled by the daughters of 
memory. And yet it was in some way if not as memory fabled 
it. A phrase, then, of impatience, thud of Blake's wings of 
excess. I hear the ruin of all space, shattered glass and top- 
pling masonry, and time one livid final flame. What's left 
us then?" * The "daughters of memory" are the classical 
Muses, whose province Blake considered to be the bound 
circle of history: "Fable or Allegory is Form'd by the daugh- 
ters of Memory. Imagination is surrounded by the daughters 
of Inspiration, who in the aggregate are call'd Jerusalem." ^ 
Like Vico and Joyce, Blake saw history as cyclical; but his 
great apocalyptic poems culminate in the destruction of his- 
tory and liberation from space and time. Joyce's version of 
this theme — "time one livid final flame" — will reappear 
near the end of the Circe chapter, where a number of 
Blakean echoes reverberate. As far as I know, "Blake's wings 
of excess" is not a direct quotation, but it may be a tele- 
scoping of the similar meanings of two of Blake's "Proverbs 
of Hell": 

Blake in Nighttown 177 

The road of excess leads to the palace oi wisdom. 

No bird soars too high, ii he soars with his own wings.^ 

Such a portmanteau would be in keeping with Stephen's — 
and Joyce's — proprietary view of his Blakean material, which 
will be seen again in the Library scene. 

Another link between the Nestor and Circe chapters is 
provided by a couplet from Blake's ''Auguries of Innocence": 

The harlot's cry horn street to street 
Shall weave old England's winding sheet J 

This is called up in Stephen's mind by Mr. Deasy's "Old 
England is dying"; he will think of it again, but this time 
with reference to Ireland, in nighttown. 

The next Blake reference, in the Proteus chapter, is con- 
cerned with space and time. Stephen, thinking of these in 
their relation to the senses ("ineluctable modality of the 
visible," "ineluctable modality of the audible" ) tests his sense 
of touch by tapping with his ashplant: "Sounds soHd: made 
by the mallet of Los Demiurgos. Am I walking into eternity 
along Sandymount strand?" (p. ^8) 

Los is one of Blake's four Zoas, or primal faculties. He 
is the embodiment of Imagination, "Prophet of Eternity." 
Blake frequently depicts him as a worker in metal, wielding 
a powerful hammer. In Blake's Milton^ Los is an agent of 
regeneration through the poetic or imaginative faculty, fig- 
uratively rendered when Milton enters Blake through the left 
foot. Stephen seems to have in mind Blake's description of 
the epiphanal moment which follows this psychic event: 

And all this Vegetable World appear'd on my left Foot 

As a bright sandal form'd immortal oi precious stones & gold. 

J stoop d down &• bound it on to walk forward thro' Eternity. 

[P- S03 

Stephen's thought, shortly before the passage quoted, of 
touch being the elemental sense is in accord with Blake's 


idea of Tharmas, zoa of touch, as 'Tarent pow'r." Also, 
several of the preoccupations which Joyce shares with Blake 
are touched upon in references to Boehme (''Signatures of 
all things I am here to read/' p. 38), ''Edenville" (p. 39), 
and the kabahstic Adam Kadmon (p. 39). 

In the National Library scene there are, as we might ex- 
pect, several Blake references. John Eglinton begins them 
by using Blake's initials: ''Seven is dear to the mystic mind. 
The shining seven W.B. calls them" (p. 182). I know of no 
"shining seven" in Blake's works, although there is a "Starry 
Seven" in Milton. (These are the seven angels in whom 
Satan says he appears.) More important is another of 
Stephen's reflections upon space and time. "Through spaces 
smaller than red globules of man's blood they creepycrawl 
after Blake's buttocks into eternity of which this vegetable 
world is but a shadow. Hold to the now, the here, through 
which all future plunges to the past." (p. 18/^) This is a 
somewhat revised version of a passage in Milton which denies 
the reality of clock time and measured space: Only the in- 
tense moment of subjective experience is real; it is a link 
to eternity, not subject to chronometer or caliper. 

For every Space larger than a red Globule oi Man's hlood 
Is visionary^ and is created hy the Hammer oi Los: 
And every Space smaller than a Globule oi Mans hlood opens 
Into Eternity oi which this vegetable Earth is but a shadow. 

[pp. si6-iy 

Later in the chapter, Mr. Best, the "blond ephebe," makes 
Stephen think of Blake's expression "Lineaments of grati- 
fied desire" (p. 196). This is perhaps best known in the 
epigram from Blake's Note-Book called "The Question An- 

What is it men in women do require.^ 
The lineaments oi Gratified Desire. 
What is it women do in men require.^ 
The lineaments oi Gratified Desire. 

[p. 180 

Blake in Nighttown 179 

Stephen refers to another Note-Book poem in his casuistry 
about avarice and incest: 'Whether these be sins or virtues 
old Nobodaddy will tell us at doomsday leet" (p. 203). A 
leet, says the Oxford Dictionary, was a manorial court; the 
Nobodaddy who will preside there is Blake's comic version 
of the man-created god of hellfire and vengeance. He appears 
in "To Nobodaddy" and in the untitled poem about Lafa- 
yette, beginning ''Let the Brothels of Paris be opened . . ." 
Joyce brings him back in the Proteus episode as a producer 
of thunder: "A black crack of noise in the street here, alack, 
bowled back. . . . But the braggart boaster cried that an 
old Nobodaddy was in his cups" (p. 388). Perhaps Joyce 
had in mind the hues from "Let the Brothels of Paris . . ." 

Then old Nobodaddy aloft 
Faited & hdcKd & cough'd 

[p. 1S5 

This also leads back to the shout-in-the-street God of chap- 
ter 11,^ a type of Nobodaddy. 

Earlier in Proteus^ Stephen delivers a critical interpreta- 
tion of several of Blake's lyrics. He does this as part of the 
mock sermon which follows his mock Eucharist: "Know all 
men, he said, time's ruins build eternity's mansions. What 
means this? Desire's wind blasts the thorntree, but after it 
becomes from a bramblebush to be a rose upon the rood of 
time." (p. 385) Having paraphrased a statement of Blake's 
("The Ruins of Time builds mansions in Eternity," letter 
to William Hayley, p. 797), Stephen uses it as a gloss upon 
three or four associated poems. One of these is the Note- 
Book lyric which begins: 

I fear'd the fury oi my wind 
Would blight all blossoms fair &■ true; 
And my sun it shind & shind 
And my wind it never blew. 

[p. 166 

l8o PALEY 

In this poem the speaker succeeds in restraining desire's 
wind, but the tree of his love is barren as a result. Another 
situation, equally bad, is that of ''The Sick Rose" of Songs 
of Experience, where the flower is attacked and destroyed 
by repressed passion which has become lust: 

The invisible worm 
That Eies in the night. 
In the howUng stoim, 

Has found out thy bed 
Oi ciimson joy: 
And his dark secret love 
Does thy hie destroy. 

[p. 213 

The thorntree Stephen speaks of probably is that in an- 
other of the Songs of Experience, ''My Pretty Rose Tree." 
Here the lover's desire is thwarted by the beloved: 

Then J went to my Pretty Rose-tree, 
To tend her by day and by night; 
But my Rose turned away with jealousy, 
And her thorns were my only delight. 

[p. 215 

The bramblebush of sexual frustration becomes "a rose upon 
the rood of time": In the retort of Yeats, the explicitly 
sexual symbohsm of Blake's flower poems ^ is sublimed into 
The Rose. Erotic passion is etherealized, flesh made spirit. 
Stephen goes on ironically to say: "Mark me now. In 
woman's womb word is made flesh but in the spirit of the 
maker all flesh that passes becomes the word that shall not 
pass away." Blake treats with a similar theme, likewise 
ironically, in another of the Songs: "Ah! Sunflower." The 
longings of the Youth and the Virgin are transferred from 
earth to an imagined hereafter: ^^ 

. . . the Youth pined away with desire 
And the pale Virgin shrouded in snow 

Blake in Nighttown 181 

Arise from their graves and aspire 
Where my Sun-flower wishes to go. 

[p. 21s 

The concision of Stephen's thought here, inweaving the 
meanings of several of Blake's poems into a single statement, 
shows us to what extent he — and Joyce — have assimilated 
Blake's poetry and symbols into their own views of reality. 
It is but a step from speaking in Blake's terms to identify- 
ing with him, as we shall see in considering the end of the 
Circe chapter. 


At the climax of the Circe chapter there occur two very 
important dramatic actions: Stephen exorcises his mother's 
ghost and then is knocked down in the street by Private 
Carr. The first of these events realizes one of the central 
themes of Ulysses; the second, also of thematic importance, 
in addition makes it possible for Bloom to rescue Stephen 
and for them to enjoy their brief noncommunion. In the 
presentation of each of these crises, Blakean associations are 

At the epiphanal moment when Stephen strikes at Bella 
Cohen's lamp with his ashplant, there is an echo of the 
"daughters of memory" passage of the Nestor chapter. 
'Time's livid final flame leaps and, in the following dark- 
ness, ruin of all space, shattered glass and toppling masonry" 
(p. ^68). The claims of history are repudiated when Stephen 
rejects his mother's deathly call to repentance. His blow at 
the lamp seems to bring about a Blakean apocalypse in 
which history is destroyed together with time and space. But 
instead of being universal as in Blake, the effect here is 
limited to Stephen's consciousness, where it is only mo- 
mentary. Bloom, having paid for the broken chimney, rushes 

152 PALEY 

into the street to find Stephen reaching a misunderstanding 
with Private Carr. 

Joyce's motive in creating a Private Can was personal.^^ 
But the end that Carr serves in Ulysses is an artistic one — 
through Stephen's encounter with him is crystalhzed the 
conflict between the artist and the brute power of the state, 
of empire. Stephen does not wilhngly enter this conflict, nor 
does he do so for nationahstic reasons — he ignores the 
dagger that Old Gummy Granny proffers him. At last he is 
literally forced to accept its reality, after having Bloomishly 
attempted to live and let live. Now, Joyce cannot but have 
been aware that William Blake had had a similar experience 
with a soldier, that he had cast it into the symbolism of his 
Jerusalemy and that it had borne in his mind a significance 
very similar to that demanded by the Private Carr episode. 
With the examples that we have seen of Joyce's abihty to 
combine Blake's vision with his own, it hardly seems too 
much to suppose that Joyce may have transcribed a page of 
Blake's life for Stephen's nighttown adventure.^^ 

Blake's encounter with Private John Scholfield occurred 
in August 1803. Joyce could have read the poet's own account 
of it in Edwin J. Ellis' The Real Blake, which was probably 
Joyce's source of biographical information for the Blake lec- 
ture he delivered at Trieste in 1912.^^ Blake says: 

I am at present in a Bustle to defend myself against a 
very unwarrantable warrant from a Justice of Peace in 
Chichester, which was taken out against me by a Private 
in Capt° Leathe's troop of 1^^ or Royal Dragoons, for an 
assault & Seditious words. The wretched Man has terribly 
Perjur'd himself, as has his Comrade; for, as to Sedition, 
not one Word relating to the King or Government was 
spoken by either him or me. His Enmity arises from my 
having turned him out of my Garden. 

Blake goes on to tell how he turned Scholfield out, pushing 
him fifty yards down the road while the soldier impotently 
struck, raged, and cursed. Afterwards, Scholfield, backed up 

Blake in Nighttown 183 

by one Private Cock, succeeded in having Blake indicted 
for allegedly uttering seditious and treasonable expressions; 
but at the trial in January 1804 Blake was acquitted. The 
Scholfield episode, which the poet believed to have been 
brought about by the government, left a deep impression 
upon him. '7s it not in the power/' he complained, "of any 
Thief who enters a Man's Dwelling, & robs him, or misuses 
his Wife or Children, to go & swear as this Man has sworn" 
(Blake's Memorandum, p. 439). He proceeded to work 
Scholfield into the symbolism of Jerusalem^ where the soldier 
and his friend Cock are two of the giant sons of Albion who 
war against the Eternal Man. 

All his Affections now appear withoutside: all his SonSy 
Hand, Hyle, & Coban, GuantoJc, Peachey, Brereton, Slayd & 

Who aie the Spectres of the Twenty-four, each Double- 

Revolve upon his mountains groaning in pain beneath 
The dark incessant sky, seeking rest and Ending none . . . 

[p. 641 

These spectral sons of Albion are products of that internal 
division of man which is the subject of Blake's epics. In 
their proper state, as the above passage tells us, they are 
"affections"; but in the fallen world they become embodi- 
ments of hatred and destruction. "Scofield is bound in iron 
armour . . ." (p. 628). "Hand & Hyle & Koban, Skofield, 
Kox & Kotope labour mightily/ In the wars of Babel & 
Shinar . . ." (p. 628). Scholfield is singled out as "Adam 
who was New-/ Created in Edom," Adam being Blake's 
figure for man enmeshed in the toils of the senses, in the 
illusion that the material world is real. As for Albion's other 
sons, Guantok or Quantock was the Justice of the Peace who 
signed a recognizance to insure the appearance of the two 
soldiers; ^^ Peachey and Brereton two other Justices; Bowen 
the prosecutor; Hutton, George Hulton, the heutenant who 

184 PALEY 

was made responsible for the soldiers' appearance at the 
trial. Hyle is probably Hayley, Blake's corporeal friend and 
spiritual enemy, who testified on his behalf; Hand represents 
the brothers Hunt in their capacity as editors of the Ex- 
aminer}^ Coban, Kotope, and Lloyd remain unidentified. 
If we compare the two episodes, some striking correspond- 
ences suggest themselves. In each one, a poet is attacked by 
a redcoat, who is backed up by another redcoat. A false 
accusation of traducing the king is made in each — Schol- 
field accused Blake of saying ''Damn the King," while Carr 
threatens Stephen: 'I'll wring the neck of any bugger says 
a word against my fucking king." ^^ Actually, Carr has mis- 
understood a Blakean gesture of Stephen's: '\He taps his 
brow.) But in here it is I must kill the priest and the king." ^^ 
Stephen blames history for his predicament, again echoing 
the second chapter: 'Tou are my guests. The uninvited. By 
virtue of the fifth of George and the seventh of Edward. 
History to blame. Fabled by mothers of memory." *'Go to it, 
Harry," urges Private Compton. *'Do him one in the eye"; 
Scholfield, wrote Blake, ''threaten'd to Knock out my Eyes." 
And while Carr rages for the honor of king and Caffrey, 
Stephen revises Blake's couplet: 

The harlot's cry horn street to street 
Shall weave old Ireland's winding sheet. 

The ensuing combats end up rather differently, owing to a 
difference in the psychology of the protagonists : Joyce wanted 
to depict Stephen as a victim, while Blake, though willing 
to imagine himself persecuted, would stand for no nonsense. 
And just as Blake peopled Jerusalem with the villains of his 
trial, so Joyce paid back his enemies in Ulysses. Sir Horace 
Rumbold, British Minister to Switzerland, is a hangman ^^ 
— "Hanging Harry, your Majesty, the Mersey terror" (p. 
^^6^ ) . Consul-General Bennett is the soldiers' sergeant-major 
(pp. 443-44). "Private" Compton is identified by Ellmann 

Blake in Nighttown 185 

as someone who Joyce believed had ''bungled the affairs of 
the English players/' "J^^ Gam" and "Toad Smith" (two 
rogues hanged by Rumbold in his career) as consular em- 
ployees who refused to testify for Joyce.^^ 

These parallels suggest that Joyce, after the run-in with 
Carr in the consular ofEce, was reminded of Scholfield's 
provocation of Blake, an impression which could have been 
reinforced by the lawsuits and trial hearings which followed. 
Like Blake, Joyce tended to see the hand of the government 
in his difficulties and to regard the state as inimical to the 
artist's freedom. ^^ Joyce understood very well how a personal 
experience could assume universal import, as the Scholfield 
episode does in Jerusalem. "The life of a great poet is in- 
tense — " he had written, "— the hfe of a Blake or a Dante 
— taking into its centre the life that surrounds it and throw- 
ing it abroad again amid planetary music." ^^ This is exactly 
what Joyce did, with the example of Blake before him, at the 
climax of his Circe chapter. 


1. See Northrop Frye, "Blake and Joyce," James Joyce Re- 
view, VI (February 1957), 39-47; William York Tindall, "Joyce 
and the Hermetic Tradition," Journal of the History of Ideas, 
XV (January 1954), 23-29. 

2. "William Blake," The Critical Writings of James Joyce, 
Ellsworth Mason and Richard Ellmann, eds. (New York, 1959), 
pp. 221-22. 

3. These were first listed by S. Foster Damon in "The Odys- 
sey in Dublin," now to be found in Seon Givens (ed.), Joyce: 
Two Decades of Criticism (New York, 1948), p. 203n. In 
addition, there are some interesting conjectures in Stuart Gil- 
bert's James Joyces Ulysses (New York, 1930), pp. i3in., 
i32n., and 244. In the discussion below, however, I will take 
up only those identifications which seem certain to me. 

4. Page 25. The Modern Library edition will be cited through- 

l86 PALEY 

5. From "A Vision of the Last Judgment," The Complete 
Writings of William Blake, Geoffrey Keynes, ed. (London, 
1957), page 604. This is the edition I shall refer to throughout. 
Mason and Ellmann note (p. 8in.) that this passage of Blake 
is used both here and in the "J^i^i^s Clarence Mangan" essay. 
Blake's own source was Milton's Reason of Church Govern- 
ment: ''. . . a work not to be raised from the heat of youth or 
the vapours of wine . . . nor to be obtain'd by the invocation 
of Dame Memory and her Siren daughters, but by devout prayer 
to that eternall Spirit who . . . sends out his Seraphim with 
the hallow'd fire of his Altar to touch and purify the lips of 
whom he pleases." Complete Works of John Milton, Don M. 
Wolfe, ed. (New Haven, 1953), i, 820-21. 

6. Pages 150, 151. 7. Ulysses, p. 34; Blake, p. 433. 

8. As William York Tindall points out in A Reader's Guide 
to James Joyce (New York, 1959), p. 202. 

9. Anyone who doubts this should consult Blake's phallic 
illustration for "The Sick Rose." 

10. Cf. Enitharmon's orders for enslaving the human race 
in Europe (p. 240), published the same year as Songs of Ex- 
perience (1794) : 

Go! tell the Human race that Woman's love is Sin; 

That an Eternal life awaits the worms of sixty winters 

In an allegorical abode where existence hath never come . . . 

11. For Henry Carr, see Richard Ellmann, James Joyce (New 
York, 1959), pp. 439-41. Carr was a man-about-consulate with 
whom Joyce quarreled in Zurich in 1918. He first appears as 
"Private Carr" in some verses that Joyce wrote after the con- 
clusion of the first lawsuit between them. Ellmann says that 
Carr pretended to have been an army officer when he really had 
been a common soldier; hence, "Private" Carr. 

12. After writing this, I learned that Professor Ellmann had 
also suggested a connection between Private Carr and Blake's 
Private Scholfield; see "The Backgrounds of Ulysses/' Kenyon 
Review, xvi (summer 1954), 373. 

13. As Mason and Ellmann point out (p. 21 7n.), Joyce 
repeats some of Ellis' fancies. 

14. Identified, with several of those following, by Sir Geoffrey 

Blake in Nighttown 187 

Keynes, "Blake's Trial at Chichester," Notes and Queries, iv 
(November 1957), 484-85. 

15. The Hunts were not connected with the trial. However, 
as David V. Erdman has shown, Blake included them among 
his enemies because of a vicious attack made by the Examiner 
upon Blake's exhibition of paintings in 1809. The Hunts' edi- 
torial signature was a hand. See William Blake: Prophet Against 
Empire (Princeton, N.J., 1954), pp. 419-25. 

16. Henry Carr had threatened Joyce: "Next time I catch 
you outside I'll wring your neck" (Ellmann, p. 440). 

17. Blake's political philosophy in a nutshell, as well as an 
echo of such lines as: ". . . gone to praise God & his Priest & 
King/ Who make up a heaven of our misery." — "The Chimney 
Sweeper," p. 212. Also see Blake's letter to George Cumberland, 
12 April 1827, where he speaks of "The Mind, in which every 
one is King & Priest in his own House" (p. 879). 

18. See Ellmann, p. 472. 19. Idem. 

20. Cf. Joyce's remarks to Georges Borach: "As an artist I 
am against every state. . . . The state is concentric, man is 
eccentric. Thence arises an eternal struggle" (Ellmann, p. 460). 

21. Critical Writings, p. 82. 


Joyce and Blake: Notes Toward Defining a 
Literary Relationship 


THE study of the Blake- Joyce relationship was begun in 
1912 when Joyce himself delivered a lecture on ''that un- 
disciplined and visionary heresiarch" at the University 
Popolare Triestina.^ Since that time a number of critics and 
commentators have called attention to the general similar- 
ities between Blake's archetypal vision and Joyce's, and some 
have documented specific usages of Blakean material in A 
Portrait of the Artist, Ulysses, and Finnegans Wake. It is 
the purpose of this essay to show that this vein has scarcely 
been tapped, that the full extent of Joyce's use of Blake is 
still to be explored, and that the final story of this most 
complex relationship is yet to be told. This last I cannot 
essay in a paper of this length, but I hope to provide here 
usable notes toward that final story. I have neither exhausted 
the vast store of Blakean material in Finnegans Wake (the 
most fruitful text for understanding the relationship) nor 
have I undertaken anything like a complete exegesis of 
individual passages, references, allusions. This I leave, 
properly I think, to the Joyceans. 
To understand something of the rationale of Joyce's 

ROBERT F. GLECKNER is PwfessoT of English at the University of 
Calif ornid {Riverside) and has been investigating the relationship 
between Joyce and Blake. 

Joyce and Blake 189 

many and varied allusions to Blake in the Wake we need 
to be made aware once again of the many and varied reasons 
for Joyce's interest in Blake at all. The most prominent of 
these is Blake's "mythopoeic vision embracing in an arche- 
typal pattern of fall, struggle, and redemption every mode 
of human activity; [the] bulk and complexity [of the works] 
derive from their method of counterpointing within this pat- 
tern particular chains of action at a dozen different levels: 
physiological, psychological, esthetic, theological, erotic — 
even commercial." ^ The description is Hugh Kenner's, writ- 
ing about Ulysses and Finnegans Wake, and I use it here to 
dramatize the close affinity between Joyce's vision in his two 
great epics and Blake's in The Four Xoas, Milton, and 
Jerusalem. Northrop Frye has recently demonstrated this 
most convincingly, adding a valuable word of caution: that 
Joyce did not necessarily borrow the mythography from 
Blake, but rather wrote within the same mythographic tra- 
dition.^ Further, whatever specific material Joyce did con- 
sciously take from Blake was absorbed, modified, reshaped, 
and fused into the fabric of his own vision. 

In addition to this fundamental kinship, however, there 
are other ties between the two men, which Joyce discovered 
partly on his own, partly through W. B. Yeats and E. J. 
Ellis.* First of all Joyce seems to have accepted the Yeats- 
Ellis notion that Blake was an Irishman whose real name 
was O'Neil; and he comments pointedly in his lecture on 
the hearsay nonsense about Blake's 'madness," the world's 
interpretation of genius.^ These two points alone were 
enough for Joyce to associate Blake with Swift (and him- 
self) in Finnegans Wake.^ Joyce's veneration for Ibsen may 
also have brought to his mind thoughts of Blake. For ex- 
ample, a crucial speech of Irene in When We Dead Awaken 
is remarkably similar to the closing scene of Blake's Book 
of Thely in which Tliel enters her own grave-plot. Here is 
Irene: '1 was dead for many years. Then they lowered me 
into a grave-vault, with iron bars before the loop-hole. And 


with padded walls — so that no one on the earth could hear 
the grave-shrieks." More important, however, than this echo, 
which Joyce surely heard (vide his Blake lecture), is the 
lonely figure of Dr. Stockmann at the end of An Enemy of 
the People: ''The strongest man in the world is he who 
stands most alone" — Ibsen himself, Blake the ''heresiarch," 
and of course Joyce. And Joyce, as exile, had a special 
sympathy for Blake's exile within the country of his own 
mind, beyond the intimidating time and space of London, 
the ''chartered Thames," and the world at large. There Joyce 
saw Blake "remaking himself" with his visions in a private 
circle of destiny, of fall, struggle, and redemption. As North- 
rop Frye has said, Blake looked forward to a world ''no 
longer continuously perceived but continually created," ''' 
the world of Joyce, of Stephen, of Shem, the world of the 
artist, the world of Finnegans Wake. Joyce's comment on 
this in his lecture is the most stirring and passionate of all 
his judgments of Blake: 

Armed with this two-edged sword, the art of Michelangelo 
and the revelations of Swedenborg, Blake killed the dragon 
of experience and natural wisdom, and, by minimizing 
space and time and denying the existence of memory and 
the senses, he tried to paint his works on the void of the 
divine bosom. To him, each moment shorter than a pulse- 
beat was equivalent in its duration to six thousand years, 
because in such an infinitely short instant the work of 
the poet is conceived and born. To him, all space larger 
than a red globule of human blood was visionary, created 
by the hammer of Los, while in a space smaller than a 
globule of blood we approach eternity. . . . Flying from 
the infinitely small to the infinitely large, from a drop of 
blood to the universe of stars, his soul is consumed by the 
rapidity of flight, and finds itself renewed and winged and 
immortal on the edge of the dark ocean of God. 

But while Joyce thrilled to the visions of Los, Urizen, 
Vala, Tiriel, Enitharmon, and the other eternals coming 
"from their ideal world to a poor London room," he was 

Joyce and Blake 191 

also intensely aware of another aspect of Blake's work, the 
Songs of Innocence and Songs of ExperiencCy with which 
Joyce seems often in Finnegan to compare his own Chamber 
Music. And there is reference in the Wake to Blake's even 
more youthful jeu d'esprit, An Island in the Moon. Finally, 
largely from his reading of Ellis's The Real Blake, Joyce was 
attracted to some obvious similarities between his own life 
and career and Blake's. Brother Robert I have mentioned 
(see note 6), and Blake's ''madness" and the exile theme; 
but surely Joyce, thinking of Nora, was even more im- 
pressed with the story of Blake's wife, Catherine Boucher, 
the illiterate daughter of a nursery gardener. Blake taught 
''her to read and write," Joyce reminds us in his lecture, but 
even more pertinent to his own self-confessed "shaping" of 
Nora, Blake "wanted the soul of his beloved to be entirely 
a slow and painful creation of his own." 

In view of all this the question of "influence" is obviously 
a complex one. SufEce it to say here that Joyce was inter- 
ested in, even fascinated by, what one might call the whole 
Blake; and L. A. G. Strong, then, is more nearly correct than 
most critics are at the moment ready to admit when he 
asserts in The Sacred River that Blake was one of the three 
writers who most deeply influenced Joyce. 


I have counted about sixty references to Blake by name 
in Finnegans Wake, most of them disguised according to 
a fairly simple, and most appropriate, plan. Just as Joyce 
has his many sets of contraries in the Wake, so too he was 
aware of Blake's insistence (in The Marriage of Heaven and 
Hell) that "without contraries is no progression." The fa- 
mous Work in Progress title, then, is no mere description 
of a partly finished manuscript, but an accurate description 


of a work which in itself is the epitome of constant move- 
ment, rebirth, progress. The clue to Joyce's usage of Blake's 
name rests in the etymology of the name itself. According 
to the OED, blake is the direct phonetic descendent of oe. 
blac, pale, so that the word has immediately twin associa- 
tions, black and white. This is supported by the etymological 
association of these words with me. bleche, the origin of 
bleach. Further, black in me. is blak (German blak)^ which 
is in turn derived from a word meaning ink. Thus Chaucer 
uses the word blake to mean black writing or ink (Troz7us, 
II, 1320). There is a connection here too between me. and 
German blak and Dutch blaken, to burn or scorch (cf. 
Chaucer's Monk's Tale, 3321); and Skeat suggests that this 
is related in turn to bleak. Bleak of course formerly meant 
pale, pallid, wan, to ally it on the one hand with white, but 
at the same time with a very slight brogue bleak becomes 
blake and hence black. Indeed blake is used to mean bare, 
naked, bleak in A Mirror for Magistrates. Joyce's use of 
blake, black, blac, bleak (and hence white and its various 
permutations) as virtually interchangeable is further sup- 
ported by his references to Blackrock, where the Joyces lived 
in 1892-93: "Blake-Roche" (294:22), "Bleakrooky" (40:30) .« 

The problem of course is to disentangle black from white, 
Blake from black, place from person, and so on. This I have 
done only generally, and I have not pursued systematically 
my gnawing hunch that most (if not all) of Joyce's blacks 
and whites are also Blakes. In any case the following are a 
goodly number to begin with. 

62:26-2j Here at the beginning of the story of hce's en- 
counter in the park and his ultimate arrest, Joyce suggests 
that we are reading the Book of Mankind, following our 
own journey through the Underworld (''Amenti"). These 
regions are described in ''Chapters of the Coming Forth by 
Day in the Underworld" in the Egyptian Book of the Dead.^ 
By changing the ''whiteness" of day to the "blackness" of 
Blake (in the madness, "amentia," of his genius) in the 

Joyce and Blake 193 

last phrase, Joyce points directly to the Sixth Night of The 
Four Zoas (hnes 1^1-iy^) in which Urizen explores his own 
fallen, cursed world and becomes subject to its terrors or, 
as Joyce puts it just prior to the passage quoted, "subjected 
to the horrors of the premier terror of Errorland." In the 
Blake passage the guilt of HCE-Urizen is clear, as is the 
impetus to write, to create out of this chaos a world: 
". . . nor can the man who goes / The journey obstinate 
refuse to write time after time." 

63:20-^0 Here hce claims that he's had too much to 
drink, in several pubs with strikingly Blakean names (''House 
of Blazes, the Parrot in Hell . . . the Sun, the Holy 
Lamb"), so that now he cannot distinguish "a white thread 
from a black." Blake here appears as the white, truth, and 
the thread is obviously the confused and confusing "threat" 
voiced by the stranger in the park. But it is also Blake's 
"thread" in: 

I give you the end of a golden string: 
Only wind it into a ball, 
It will lead you in at Heaven's Gate 
Built in Jerusalem's wall. 

Fallen, hce must now rely on "the engine of the laws" 
(i.e. Urizen's iron book of laws),^^ and it, of course, will 
not lead him to Jerusalem at all but to the gates of the Hell 
of this world. 

114:io-ii In the account of alp's untitled "mamafesta" 
Blake-white again appears, in "lampblack and blackthorn." 
The reference is specifically to Blake's printing of his works, 
but the lamp also suggests light, whiteness, as opposed to 
the blackness of the lamp's soot. In German blak is the 
fumes from a charred lampwick, and at the same time a 
slang term for nonsense. Thus in the same breath we have 
the wisdom of the lamp and the nonsense of the blak, the 
former seen in alp's letter if one uses imaginative vision, 
the latter if seen with the veiled eyes of the worldly senses. 


This ambiguity is merely echoed by the word ''blackthorn/' 
a tree similar to our hawthorne which produces pure white 
flowers. Much of the rest of Joyce's paragraph can also be 
taken as descriptive of Blake's self-engraved (''homeborn"), 
strange, ''antechristian" poetry, the 'waste" in which there 
is "wisdom" {114:ii-2o). 

llliij This is in the context of the Professor's description 
of alp's letter in the style of Sir Edward Sullivan's account 
of the Book of Kells. Campbell and Robinson note that it 
is also Joyce describing Finnegans Wake. More accurately it 
is Joyce describing the Wake in the light of Blake's illu- 
minated "blackartful" prophetic books. Sulhvan's opening 
paragraph, quoted in A Skeleton Key, pp. lo^-^, applies, 
indeed, much more directly to Blake than to Joyce, as does 
the language of Joyce's Professor on pages 11^22 of the 

177:2^ if Perhaps a reference to "Billy" Blake and his 
Shem-like "blaspheming" in The Four Zoas ("congregant 
of his four soups"). Some support for this lies further on 
in the passage with the mention of the "Ballade Imaginaire" 
of "Maistre Sheames de la Plume, some most dreadful stuff 
in a murderous mirrorhand." Shem and Blake are often 
merged by Joyce, perhaps following up Yeats' epithet, 
"Blake the penman," ^^ so that Blake's (and Joyce's) nom 
de plume is Shem and vice versa. Also Blake wrote occasion- 
ally in "mirrorhand" and more "murderously" engraved 
many of his copper plates in reverse image so that the print 
read in the correct order. The rest of Joyce's paragraph, 
while disclaiming vigorously that Shem has no rival in this 
style, ambiguously suggests a "model" via the double 
negatives: Shem is neither "prexactly unlike his polar and- 
thisishis [nor] the seem ... as what he fancied or guessed 
the sames as he was himself" {177 :^2-'^^). 

182:^o-^^ A combined reference to the place of work of 
Joyce, Blake, and Shem, "The house O'Shea or O'Shame." 
The "Haunted Inkbottle" is related to the several other 

Joyce and Blake 195 

Blakean printing-ink-black contexts, and Blake is further 
suggested by the address: ''no number Brimstone Walk, Asia 
in Ireland." In The Marriage of Heaven and Hell Blake as- 
sociates himself continually with devils, the purveyors of 
eternal wisdom; for example, one ''Memorable Fancy" be- 
gins: "As I was walking among the fires of hell, delighted 
with the enjoyments of Genius, which to Angels look like 
torment and insanity. . . ." Joyce refers to this passage at 
least once more as we shall see, and follows up the present 
context with: "Angles aftanon browsing there thought not 
Edam reeked more rare" {183:y-8)}^ "Brimstone Walk" 
recalls another "Memorable Fancy," in which Blake re- 
counts his visit to "a Printing house in Hell" where he saw 
"the method in which knowledge is transmitted from gen- 
eration to generation." "Asia in Ireland" may refer to Blake's 
use of "Asia" in a section of The Song of Los^ especially so 
since Los is identified so often with Blake and with Joyce 
in Finnegan. The passage continues with "his penname 
SHUT sepiascraped on the doorplate and a blind of black sail- 
cloth over its wan phwinshogue" — the sepia a clear reference 
to Blake's frequent use of this medium, and the "SHUT" 
reiterating the theme of isolation, exile, separation from the 
world outside his cottage. In addition, of course, Joyce is 
referring to the black patch he wore over one eye, thereby 
suggesting curiously that his blindness was in effect related 
to his Blakean vision ("blind . . . black . . . wan [i.e. bleak 
as explained above] phwinshogue"). 

Of the catalogue of "furniture" for this house listed on 
pages 183-84 of the Wake, a few items are pertinent here: 
(i) the "bouchers" (hne 12) refers to Blake's wife, Cath- 
erine Boucher; (2) the "blackeye lenses" (line 17) to Blake's 
way of seeing, his vision, and again Joyce's glasses and blind- 
ness; (3) the "seedy ejaculations, hmerick damns, crocodile 
tears, spilt ink, blasphematory spits" (lines 23-24) probably 
to Blake's penchant for damning in rhyme all those who 
damned him in one way or another.^^ Joyce's paragraph 


concludes {184:f-io) with a reference to his own Chamber 
Music (and hence probably Blake's Songs of Innocence and 
of Experience) and his fundamental kinship with Blake via 
the exile theme. The ''ineluctable phantom" is most likely 
Blake's ''spectre": 

My Spectre around me night & nighty 
Like a Wild beast guards my way. 

This entire passage of course is related in turn to that on 
pages 18^-86 of the Wake describing Blake's process of cor- 
rosive etching, his mythographic history, the cycle of unity 
to division to unity, and the proliferation of mythological 
characters in the prophetic books in order to chronicle 
minutely "his own individual person hfe unlivable" (186:3): 
"the first till last alshemist wrote over every square inch of 
the only foolscap available, his own body, till by its corrosive 
sublimation one continuous present tense integument slowly 
unfolded all marryvoising moodmoulded cyclewheeling his- 
tory." 14 

188:^-^ To all of this, of course, Shaun points as justifica- 
tion for his derision and disgust. And Joyce punctuates 
Shaun's revulsion with a nice irony via Blake's name: "It is 
looking pretty black against you, we suggest, Sheem avick." 
For the more Shem looks like Blake, the more he looks black 
to Shaun — and to the world. This is precisely what Blake 
meant when he wrote in The Everlasting Gospel: 

Both read the Bible day & night. 

But thou leadst black where I read white. 

As Shaun continues to pry into Shem's character and 
career (p. 188) further Blakean echoes are heard, most nota- 
bly his early satire An Island in the Moon (which Joyce calls 
"this two easter island on the piejaw of hilarious heaven" — 
188:10-11) and The Book of Thel (see below, section iii, 
for the occurrence of Thel's name in Finnegan). Shaun also 

Joyce and Blake 197 

calls Shem "anarch, egoarch, hiresiarch" {188:i6), an echo 
of Joyce's description of Blake in his Trieste lecture: "that 
undisciphned and visionary heresiarch." 

Blake next appears in the "Feenichts Playhouse" produc- 
tion as Glugg-Shem in Book 11 of Finnegan. He is introduced 
immediately as "glugg (Mr. Seumas McQuillad . . .)y the 
bold bad bleak boy of the storybooks" (219:22-24). And on 
page 229 Glugg, Shem, and Blake-Joyce all coalesce in a pas- 
sage describing the writing of Ulysses, Blake's Songs and The 
Four Zoas. Still later Glugg is described as "born of thug 
tribe into brood blackmail" (240:i2), a passage which looks 
forward to the later description of Blake as a "pair of men" 
named "MacBlakes" {409:2i-2^), the two "a" sounds and 
the "m" and "b" merely being reversed (i.e. Black-Make, 
Blake-Mac, black-mail ) . The culmination of the mockery of 
Glugg comes in a remarkable Swedenborgian-Blakean pas- 
sage, in which Joyce makes use of a number of themes com- 
mon to both mystics: the proprium or selfhood, light vs. 
heat, wrath and charity, "thisworlders" and other-worlders, 
the concept of "states," devils and angels, the four points of 
the compass, eternal conjunctions, and the theory of cor- 
respondences {251:4-iy). Blake is referred to as the outcast 
Glugg, "marrer of the sward incoronate" (250:35), "Black- 
arss" the singer inspired by "a fammished devil." "The specks 
on his lapspan are his foul deed thougths, wishmarks of mad 
imogenation" {2Sl:ii-iy). 

287:i8-ig The first major identification of Blake with 
Swift — and with Joyce, Shem, Dolph (one of the twins of 
hce), and Berkeley. Although I can sympathize with Mrs. 
Glasheen's confusion, in A Census of Finnegans Wake, 
about Berkeley's role in the book, it is clear that on occasion 
Joyce uses Blake-Berkeley as brother idealists, visionaries (cf. 
Berkeley's Theory of Vision and Blake's constant preoccupa- 
tion with perception), imaginative creators of worlds of the 
mind, of eternity. Then too both were rebels, as was Joyce 
himself, so that in the present passage Dolph is said to have 


"coached rebelliumtending mikes of his same and over his 
own choirage at Backlane Univarsity'' (287:29-30), anagram- 
matically Blakean University. The passage goes on to make 
the Blake reference more expHcit through mention of Dolph's 
"doublecressing twofold thruths" (288:3) ^^^ Druidic lore 
(288:^), the first an allusion to Blake's system of four-fold 
vision, the second to his interest in the history of the Druids 
in England. Finally Dolph and his twin brother Kev almost 
come to blows, and Joyce with an ambiguous reference to 
Blake uses him to apply to both brothers: ''pray for blaa- 
blaablack sheep" (301:6). The ''Blake" sheep are of course 
Dolph's, Shem's, and the black sheep Kev's; yet to Kev Dolph 
is the black sheep of the family because of his Blakeanism. 

338:^ ff In the Butt and Taff radio skit Blake appears sev- 
eral times. He is at first associated by Taff with Butt. Taff 
urges Butt to tell his story of how he shot the Russian Gen- 
eral: "And may he be too an intrepidation of our dreams 
which we foregot at wiking when the morn hath razed out 
hmpalove and the bleakfrost chilled our ravery" (338:29-31 ). 
But Taff too is described in terms of Blake, as a "blackseer" 
(340:1^) y characterizing his essentially un-Blakean vision. He 
is the Shaun to Butt's Shem and his comments punctuating 
Butt's account of the Crimean War reflect his relative 
myopia. Properly, then, he is presented as trying "to regulect 
all the straggles for wife in the rut of the past through the 
widnows in effigies keening after the blank sheets in their 
faminy to the relix of old decency from over draught" 
(340:i^-i6). He is a looker to the past, a regulator, a keeper 
of the codes of "decency," and yet at the same time he is 
the gross sensualist who looks to the rutting past through 
what Blake might call the narrow "widnows" of his bodily 
cavern, that is his senses only.^^ 

Again at the beginning of his self-defense against the 
charges of debauchery and lewdness Butt is described in 
Blakean terms (the white to Taff's black): "with a gisture 
expansive of Mr Lhugewhite Cadderpollard with sunflawered 

Joyce and Blake 199 

beautonhole pulled up point blanck by mailbag mundaynism 
at Oldbally Court" {350:io-i2). That is, like Blake's "Cat- 
terpiller on the Leaf" {Gates of Paradise), and shining in 
the light of Blake's sunflower, Butt comes face to face with 
the sensual world, Shaun the Postman, who ''flaws" the sun- 
flower in the same way that Sinclair Lewis' Mike Monday 
(a parody of evangehst Billy Sunday) in Babbitt flaws the 
light of Christianity, even to the point of perverting Sunday 
to Monday. Finally "blanck" suggests German blank, which 
means shining or white, to complete the sunlit context of 
Butt's Blakean characteristics. Since Joyce, however, seldom 
leaves things black and white he also characterizes Butt as a 
teller of outright lies: ''Mr Lhugewhite" is equivalent to Mr. 
Blanke Luge, a cad, and ultimately the two figures will merge 
into Tuff and Batt, each the "viseversion" of the other 


381:iyff Hce's ultimate fall, drunk and singing, finds 
him "overwhelmed . . . with black ruin like a sponge out 
of water." This Joyce apparently compares to the many falls 
recounted by Blake in his poetry (Blake's "runes"); yet hce 
goes down singing a Blakean song, "allocutioning in bell- 
cantos . . . starkened by the most regal of belches . . . the 
blackberd's ballad Fve a terrible errible lot todue todie todue 
tootorribleday' {381:18-2^). The "blackberd's" is a most 
complex reference, all of which I do not understand, for it 
encompasses the four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie, 
Blackbeard the Pirate, Jack Yeats' famous painting of The 
Ballad Singer, and Blake's bard of Songs of Experience, who 
"Present, Past, & Future sees." 

In hce's drunken dream of the honeymoon voyage of 
Tristram and Iseult, Blake appears in a much more familiar 
role, that of the artist-creator, "Mesh, the cutter of the reed, 
in one of the farback, pitchblack centuries when who made 
the world" (385:6-7). Mesh is of course Shem, and his title 
here locates the Blakean context as Songs of Innocence, in 
which Blake's piper "pluck'd a hollow reed" to write his 


''happy songs." ^^ The "pitchblack centuries" then are not 
black at all but the Blakean white of innocence, a world 
created by the artist as an Edenic realm ("when who [i.e. 
he] made the world"). This world (''neer the Nodderlands 
Nurskery") is peopled by ' whiteboys and oakboys" (for even 
Blake's little black boy, we recall, is essentially white) and 
"piping tom boys, raising hell while the sin was shining" 
{38S:g-ii). The allusions to Blake's Songs of Innocence 
fairly tumble over each other here: "The Lamb," "The 
Ecchoing Green," "The Chimney Sweeper," "Nurse's Song," 
"The School Boy," "The Little Black Boy," "A Cradle 
Song." And just as the "old folks" in "The Ecchoing Green" 
lament the lost days of youth, so too do the four old men of 
Finnegans Wake (Johnny, Marcus, Lucas, and Matt) yearn 
for "the wald times and the fald times" and listen eagerly 
"spraining their ears for the millennium" (SSGij-ii), the 
recorso, the achieving of a Blakean innocence with wisdom. 
405.7 if Book III of Finnegans Wake is dominated by the 
figure of Shaun, presenting himself to the people as their 
leader, saviour, and hero. And since he must constantly 
justify himself by disparaging Shem (whose letter he carries), 
Blake references appear in abundance. Here again black is 
often white and white black; sometimes one of the meanings 
is singled out to the exclusion of the other, sometimes both 
are employed to suggest the fundamental bivalence of all 
hfe, the contraries Blake and Joyce both insist upon. To 
support this usage Joyce on occasion uses another Blakean 
device, one which is indeed inherent in his treatment of 
Shem and Shaun throughout Finnegans Wake. Shem is the 
outcast, the scum, the evil, the devil from Shaun's point of 
view; and in the same breath Shaun of course describes him- 
self as the opposite of these — the conventional good man, 
indeed the angel who brings good tidings of great joy. Hence 
Joyce's picture of Shaun on page ^o^ of Finnegan is doubly 
satiric — for it is seen through Shaun's self-approving eyes 
but couched in Blakean imagery of conventional dullness, 

Joyce and Blake 201 

time-bound senses, and worldly tyranny: "Shaun (holy mes- 
songer angels be uninterruptedly nudging him among and 
along the winding ways of random ever!) Shaun in proper 
person (now may all the blueblacksliding constellations con- 
tinue to shape his changeable timetable! ) stood before me" 
(405.7-11). The references are to Blake's time-locked, re- 
stricted, confined, hypocritical fallen world, enchained by 
the firmament of stars to keep it from falling to pieces, the 
world of Songs of Experience , the fallen Urizen, Generation. 

Joyce's ambiguous usage of black-white is most clear once 
Shaun begins his address to the people; for he wavers con- 
stantly between an inability really to understand the mes- 
sage (the letter) of Shem-Blake-Joyce and just enough under- 
standing to thoroughly repel his conventional eyes and mind. 
His confusion is immediately apparent as he tells of meeting 
two men 'whom I shuffled hands with named MacBlacks — 
I think their names is MacBlakes" {409:22-2^). The shuf- 
fling of hands is the key to the confusion, for Shaun cannot 
tell black from Blake. Joyce, however, tells us clearly that 
"their [the MacBlacks'] names is [i.e. nemesis] is Mac- 
Blakes." Thus, triumphantly and ignorantly Shaun can pro- 
claim that he now has the whole truth from Blake's 
"prophecies. After suns and moons, dews and wettings, thun- 
ders and fires, comes sabotag" {409:28-2g). The reference is 
to Blake's "A Song of Liberty" {Marriage of Heaven and 
Hell)y in which the Shaun-like King "With thunder and 
fire, leading his starry hosts thro' the waste wilderness . . . 
promulgates his ten commands." For Shaun this leads to 
the sabbath, to the day of contented rest; for Blake it leads 
to sabotage, for "the son of fire in his eastern cloud, while 
the morning plumes her golden breast, / Spurning the clouds 
written with curses, stamps the stony law to dust." It is of 
course the difference between the ignorant darkness of the 
conventional sabbath, and the blazing light of a new dawn. 

Shaun's description of this world, then, is truer than he 
knows, for he says that he is "fed up be going circulating 


about them new hikler's highways hke them nameless souls 
. . . till it's rusty October in this bleak forest" {410:y-g). 
It is a bleak forest indeed, Blake's "forests of the night/' in 
which the terrible tiger burns bright waiting to devour the 

425:9 if In turning from the world to the letter Shaun is 
provoked by the people to boast that he could do much bet- 
ter if he really tried; and in the course of his attack upon 
Shem and his language Shaun again takes Blake's name in 
vain while at the same time seeing himself as Blake's piper of 
Songs of Innocence. He begins by claiming that he is ''in- 
nocent of disseminating the foul emanation" of Shem's pen, 
an outrageous placing of himself among Blake's innocents. 
At the same time the emanation in Blake's view of man is 
the Shemmian side indeed, passionate, feminine, and crea- 
tive (just as Shem is constantly associated with and cham- 
pioned by alp), while the Shaunian side is the spectre, the 
reasoning power, the male destroyer and devourer. Thus if 
Shaun did write his own version of the letter it would be a 
perversion of the eternal vision of the poet. Joyce's paragraph 
then is punctuated with words and phrases to suggest the 
perversion of Shaun's contemplated opus: ''blurry wards," 
"allergrossest transfusiasm," "incredible faith," "take pot- 
lood and introvent it Paatryk just Hke a work of merit," "im- 
mature and a nayophight." But, happily, Shaun "would never 
for anything take so much trouble of such doing"; and he 
swears (lines 35-36) by Blake's child on a cloud and the 
piper's pipe of the "Introduction" to Songs of Innocence to 
destroy all such writers as Shem, Blake, Joyce. For they, after 
all, are a composite "bogus bolshy of a shame . . . con- 
versant with in audible black and prink" (lines 22-2^) — 
that is, Blake's poetry and designs, his printing-ink. 

447 ff After Shaun's metamorphosis into Jaun he is 
shown even more glaringly in his proper light — delivering a 
hypocritical, trite, sickeningly moral, jingoistic sermon. Like 
Shaun, however, Jaun too, in the courting scene, invokes 

Joyce and Blake 203 

Blake's piper of innocence, "my singasongapiccolo to pipe 
musicall airs on numberous fairyaciodes" {4S0:i8-2o) . This 
is immediately preceded by Blake's name (line 18) ^ bound 
up as we have seen it before with Blackbeard and blackbirds; 
but here the allusions are extended to draw into the black- 
white contrast a middle ground, gray: ''Dorian blackbudds." 
The piper reference, then, is corroborated nicely by the ref- 
erence to Billy Budd, Melville's personification of innocence, 
and Dorian Gray is sandwiched in between.^'^ Jaun, however, 
cannot allow himself such nonsense, and his essential nature 
finally breaks through his momentary gay, idyllic vision: 
''But enough of greenwood's gossip [an allusion perhaps to 
the first fine of Blake's "Laughing Song"] . Birdsnests is birds- 
nests" (450:^2-^^). 

The final two allusions to Blake in this Jaun section are 
again ambiguous. The first, at least on the surface, paints 
Jaun black, for after brief laughter (almost as if he forgets 
himself and becomes Shem-like for a moment), "swifter as 
mercury he wheels right round starnly on the Rizzies sud- 
denly, with his gimlets blazing rather sternish (how black 
like thunder!), to see what's loose" {4S4:2o-2^). Literally 
this is truly Shaun — swift, mercurial, postman-like, gov- 
erned by Blake's chain of stars mentioned earlier, black and 
threatening like thunderclouds. Yet at the same time Joyce 
reveals to us Shem — Swift-like, a corrosive sublimate (mer- 
cury), Sterne-like, Blake-like, Los-like (Blake's mythological 
personification of energetic creation). Thus again Shaun is 
truer than he knows when he later says of his brother, "And 
we're the closest of chems. Mark my use of you, cog! Take 
notice how I yemploy, crib! Be ware as you, I foil, coppy!" 
(454:3-5). And he concludes his speech with a typical attack 
upon Shem — with Swift and Blake again appearing: "The 
burnt out mesh . . . scaly skin and all, with his black- 
guarded eye, and the goatsbeard in his buttinghole of 
Shemuel Tulliver, me grandsourd" {464:g-i^). 

Ironically we discover that it is Shaun, not Shem, who is 


''burnt out/' and as he lies sprawled across County Meath, 
the people sit in judgment over him — and with them Blake, 
or as Joyce has it, Blunt Blake, pen in hand, the attacker 
of everything Shaun stands for: ''As were you suppose to go 
and push with your bluntblank pin in hand upinto his 
fleshasplush cushionettes of some chubby boybold love of 
an angel" {474:i^-i^).^^ 

Throughout the "inquest" over Shaun- Yawn's slowly fad- 
ing body, Blake references are fairly frequent, though several 
are far from clear to me. For example when alp begins to 
speak from somewhere within the depths of Yawn's being, 
she is interrupted rudely by one of the Four Old Men who 
makes fun of her via an allusion to the serpent's temptation 
of Eve (494:i5/f). The temptation, however, is seen las- 
civiously as the attack of a pervert (masquerading as a sacra- 
mental offering) upon a lewd wanton. To translate this into 
the black-white Blakean pattern: black interprets the attack 
of black against white as in reality an attack of white against 
black. Thus the pervert side of the Swiftian image is the 
tempter ("obesendean"), associated with that major mys- 
tery (as Mrs. Glasheen calls him), Magrath ("Dan Ma- 
graw"), who masquerades as Blake-white ("blancmange"). 
The references to Eve are equally complex since they involve 
Blake's fallen woman, Heva, and also a pregnant Mary 
("Emfang de Maurya's"). The whole scene is obscured by 
a kind of sooty cloud (German Russ in "bullsrusshius" ) 
evoked by a portmanteau word which also alludes to Moses; 
and by the setting at Belshazzer's Feast (including the 
Schottshrift) y which is also somehow a "writing academy" 
where Swift and Blake presumably create their prophecies; 
and by the over-all camouflage. However obscure all these 
references are, and however strained the Blake usage seems, 
the latter is corroborated almost immediately by the equa- 
tion of Sully ("Magrath's thug") with Shem and Blake (cf. 
240:12) : "a barracker associated with tinkers, the blackhand, 
Shovellyvans, wreuter of annoyimgmost letters and skirriless 

Joyce and Blake 205 

ballets" (495:1-3). The ''letters" are of course the letter of 
Finnegans Wake, scratched up (German reuten) by the hen, 
its riddle (German Renter) slowly unravelled, delivered by 
that archetypal news agent, Shaun the Post (Baron von 
Reuter). Finally toward the end of the same passage Blake 
is again paired with Sully via the motto hanging in that 
"leechers . . . Saxontannery" : Honi soit qui mal y pense — 
or as Joyce transmutes it, incorporating Blake's supposed 
Irish name and his engraving trade, "O'Neill saw Queen 
Molly's pants: and much admired engraving" {495:26-28). 
Blake's "Irish ancestry" is alluded to again a few pages later 
where he is clearly described as a son of Erin: "grianblachk 
sun of gan greyne Eireann" (503:2^). Swift may also be pres- 
ent here in German gang. 

In the retelling of the Fall in Phoenix Park, there are a 
baffling series of references to Blake and his works. I give 
them here simply, with only such comment as will point the 
reference rather than trying to elucidate, even briefly, its 
usage in the context. 

"Blondman's blaff!" {S08:iy) may be an allusion to 
Blake's poem "Blind-Man's Buff" in the Poetical Sketches 
which deals with what Joyce may have construed as a play 
version of the crime in the park. Blake's name seems to be 
buried neatly in the same line, in "skib leaked." The Blakean 
context of Poetical Sketches is corroborated by the reference 
in hne 29 to the song beginning "My silks and fine array," 
which Joyce renders as "Silks apeel and sulks alusty." This is 
followed by an echo (Hne 33) of the Blake-white motif and 
an evoking of the figure of Nick, who is often equatable with 
Shem, Joyce, and Blake ("Both were white in black arpists 
at cloever spilling, knickt?" ) . 

Towards the end of this section of Finnegan hce himself 
appears to deliver an eloquent defense of himself and his 
actions, in the context of which Blake plays his now familiar 
ambiguous role. First of all, like hce, he has freed the en- 
slaved through his engraved books {S4S:2^, 34). But he has 


also been calumniated, impersonated by ''bleakmealers" 
(S4S:2y). The double entendre is clear: the masqueraders of 
HCE and Blake, those who tell the false tall tales, are black- 
mailers (an allusion to Shaun the Post) while the true "I" 
(line 2y) who wandered the streets of London is Blake-HCE. 
London I use advisedly here since several of the lines point- 
edly echo Blake's great poem ''London": "in street wauks 
that are darkest I debelledem superb" (hues 28-29) and ''in 
black pitts of the pestered Lenfant he is dummed" (lines 
3S~3^)y ^^^ latter incorporating a reference to Blake's un- 
complimentary view of Pitt as well as to the plagued infant 
of "London." 

563:4 ff As Karl Kiralis notes (MFS, Winter 1958-59), 
the subject here is Jerry, one of the Porter twins, who is as- 
sociated with Shem, Joyce, and Blake. The first reference is 
to Blake's engraved ("craven") and self-"printed" works — 
just as earlier he was characterized by the printing ink trope; 
"he has pipettishly bespilled himself from his foundingpen 
as illspent from inkinghorn. He is jem job joy pip" — that is, 
Blake's Job and the "Infant Joy" and piper of innocence. He 
is also Blake's "The Lamb" and the hand that "wrought" 
"The Tyger" (563:8-9). Next Joyce curiously couples Blake's 
name with Byron's [lines n-iy]: 

He will be quite within the pale [the English "Pale" in 
Ireland, Dublin, Ireland generally, plus Blake as white] 
when with lordbeeron brow he vows him so tosset [Ger- 
man tosen, to rage, roar] to be of the sir Blake tribes bleak 
while through life's unblest [life's sun blest, but unblest 
by the people of course] he rodes [German roden, to root 
out] backs of bannars [bans plus arses] . Are you not some- 
what bulgar with your bowels [Blake's poem, "When 
Klopstock England defied"]? Whatever do you mean with 
bleak? With pale blake I write tintingface. . . . And with 
steelwhite and blackmail I ha'scint for my sweet an 
anemone's letter. 

And, finally, with references to both Porter twins, the 
Blakean and Joycean contraries, "I will to leave a my copper- 

Joyce and Blake 207 

wise blessing [Blake's engravings on copper] between the pair 
of them" (hnes 29-30). All in all the page is a major text 
for understanding both the significance of the Blake allusions 
in Finnegans Wake and Joyce's technique in making those 

The final references to Blake occur as the new Viconian 
cycle begins, with Shaun in the ascendancy, Blake-Shem in 
decline: "So an inedible yellowmeat [French jaune meat, 
hence Shaun-meat] turns out the invasable blackth" 
(594:32-33); "and pfor to pfinish our pfun of a pfan coald- 
ing the keddle mickwhite [i.e. MacBlake plus Mick-Nick]; 
sure, straight, slim, sturdy, serene, synthetical, swift" 
(596:31-33). Also "Will [Blake], make a newman if any- 
worn" (596:36-597:1) "In the wake of the blackshape, Nat- 
tenden Sorte" {608:28-2g). The new age is ushered in via 
the debate between the old druidic mystical mythology 
(Berkeley-Blake-Shem) and the new reality of St. Patrick 
(Shaun). ^^ The long passage (pp. 611-12) introducing 
"pidgin fella Balkelly" (Blake-Berkeley) is another remarka- 
ble Blakean tour de force, with allusions to the Four Zoas, 
Albion, the true reality of vision as opposed to that of this 
"vegetable" universe, Blake's engraving and mythology gen- 
erally (as well as his obscurity when compared with this 
new world of hght). The passage is too long to quote in its 
entirety, but here are some of the key phrases: "alb be- 
longahim" (Albion); "all too many much illusiones through 
photoprismic velamina of hueful panepiphanal world specta- 
curum of Lord Joss [a Pidgin English corruption of Deus], 
the of which zoantholitic furniture, from mineral through 
vegetal to animal"; "he savvy inside true inwardness of reality 
... all objects . . . allside showed themselves in trues 
coloribus resplendent with sextuple gloria of light actually 
retained, untisintus, inside them"; "with other words verbi- 
gratiagrading from murmurulentous till stridulocelerious . . . 
with diminishing claractinism, augumentationed himself in 
caloripeia to vision so throughsighty" (Blake's increasing 


complexity, obscurity, and depth of vision). St. Patrick's 
reply is Shaun-like in its attack upon this Blakean obscurity: 
'Tou pore shiroskuro blackinwhitepaddynger [Blake-white- 
Irishman] . . . celestial from principalest [pale Blake] of 
Iro's Irismans ruinboon pot before, (for beingtime [Blake's 
Four Zoas] monkblinders timeblinged completamentarily 
murkblankered in their neutrolysis between the possible vir- 
iditude of the sager and the probable eruberuption of the 
saint)" {612:18-2^). 

" 'Tis gone infarover. So fore now, dayleash" {613:8). And 
it is, of course, Shaun's day, the day of Dear Dirty Dublin, 
of Blake's London once more. The dream is over. 


As Campbell, Robinson, and others have pointed out, 
"Finnegans Wake in toto is the fourfold aspect of every liv- 
ing moment: the whole round is entirely present with every 
tick of the clock" {Skeleton Key, p. ^40). Hence the many 
groups of four in the Wake, including Blake's Four Zoas, the 
mythological equivalents of the four aspects of the grand 
man, Albion. Indeed the Zoas are so ubiquitous that one is 
tempted to see them everywhere.^^ The key to Joyce's use of 
them hes in his phrase ''Zoantholitic furniture." In addition 
to the obvious pertinence of their fourness, Joyce I think was 
capitalizing on the idea of ''furniture" as used by the printer, 
especially since he constantly thinks of Blake as printer in 
the Wake. This kind of furniture consists of pieces of lead 
placed around and between the type or matter to create 
spaces and to fasten the matter to the chase. In any case, 
whether this is so or not, fours of almost any kind clearly 
are the furniture at Finnegan's wake. 

Of much greater importance to the student of Blake and 
Joyce, however, is Joyce's use of specific Blakean character 

Joyce and Blake 209 

names, particularly Los, who is of course related to the Four 
Zoas, yet not one of them. He is for Blake the creator, the 
artist, the artificer of eternity; he is associated with the sun 
and with poetry; he is the personification of Time; and his 
symbols are the hammer and anvil. In Finnegans Wakey 
then, he is properly everywhere, yet curiously difficult to lo- 
cate because his name is easily buried amid the melee of 
Joycean languages and puns. For example, he is readily ab- 
sorbed into the words "loss" and "loose" (German los) or, 
in reverse, into "sol" or "sole." And just as Blake's own name 
is used ambiguously, so too Los can be the creative spirit as 
well as the destroyer (as. los means destruction, loss in its 
fullest sense, and in Swedish and Danish Ids is associated 
with both falseness and fire). A number of the following 
references then may be suspect, but should not be ruled out 
offhand; for even where a Los usage is certain, the context 
is often strange enough to lead one to expect him most any- 
where (as in the case of the Four Zoas above). One major 
check, of course, is Joyce's association of Los with Shem and 
his kin — Blake, Joyce, Swift, Sterne, Nick, Gripes, Glugg, 
etc. In the following paragraphs I do not comment upon 
each reference but only those which present Los in his most 
characteristic and associative form. 

47:ig Perhaps Los, associated properly with Sophocles, 
Shakespeare, Dante, and (I think, consistent with Blake's 
usage) "a non-Moses." Other brief references which need no 
elucidation are 378:ij (with Lucifer) and 470:^o (with 
Christ and Agni). 

S7:26-2y The reference here is a complex one, outside of 
the Lewis Carroll allusions, for it presupposes some knowl- 
edge of at least two of Blake's early prophecies. The Book of 
Urizen and The Book of Los. The first deals with the cosmic 
fall of Urizen into chaos, indeed to the brink of nonentity, 
and the subsequent limit to that fall placed by the divine hand 
— to enable a world to be built as the first step toward re- 
generation and ultimately reunion. Los is that aspect of 


Urizen which created out of the nothingness a world; Urizen 
becomes its Jehovah-hke tyrant. Thus in the passage Joyce 
clearly refers not only to the fall (of the dark side of Los, 
blind Sol) but to the beginnings of life in the quivering 
globule of blood {Book of Urizen, w, 7) which he comments 
upon so pointedly in the Trieste lecture, and to the hope of 
regeneration which is implicit in the fall and in the figure of 
Los himself. 

88:9 That regenerative power of Los Joyce capitalizes 
upon here in the wonderful portmanteau word *'morpho- 
melosophopancreates." In order, this incorporates sleep and 
Morpheus, who is properly the fashioner and shaper of 
dreams (Greek morphe, plan, shape); morpheme, the shape 
of a meaningful linguistic unit; melos, a combination of Los 
and the Greek for song (cf. 57:2, S33:iy); sophos, wisdom; 
Pan, as the pagan version of Blake's rural piper; and pan- 
creates, which in Greek means literally ''all flesh" and en- 
compasses the idea of the creator of all wisdom. 

140:i^-i8 The tools of Los's trade, the hammer and an- 
vil, Joyce makes use of next, the specific reference being to 
the forming of the human body, forged on Los's anvil, de- 
scribed vividly by Blake in The Book of Urizen, especially 
Chapters iva, 5, and ivb, 1, 2, and 6. At the same time Joyce 
has also incorporated the theme of destruction (''destrac- 
tion") into the context of Los's creation. For other references 
to Los's hammer see 316:2^-26 and 356:i (German Fdustel). 

154:2^-26 Los as symbol of Time, ultimately related to 
his "emanation," Enitharmon, who is Space, is inherent in 
this allusion (for Los and the angels again see also 296: 
16-iy). Again here Joyce demonstrates his intimate knowl- 
edge and clear understanding of Blake's works, for again the 
allusion is to Urizen as well as to Los. After Los's acts of 
creation, it is Urizen who rules over it all, taking its measure, 
binding it with his iron laws, estimating its capacity, po- 
tential, and value for his own ends. Just as Los's act is a 
selfless one, so Urizen's actions are selfish, tyrannical. Even 

Joyce and Blake 211 

Joyce's references to a two-dimensional world are pertinent, 
for in the Blakean system single vision (or dimension) is 
tantamount to blindness (cf. SliiG), what Blake called 
"Newton's sleep"; double or two-fold vision (or dimension) 
is of this world, Los's creation, Urizen's universe, the world 
of London (and Joyce's Dublin), the state of experience or 
''Generation"; three-fold vision (or dimension) is Beulah, 
Blake's state of wise innocence; and four-fold vision (or 
dimension) is Eden, eternity, oneness, Jerusalem, the mil- 
lennium. Other references to Los-Time and Enitharmon- 
Space are 247:2, 42S:io-i2, 609:2-^. 

222:2^ Los here is singer as well as protector (cf. the 
sword of the Zoas in hue 22), but he is also associated prob- 
ably with Christ ("meekly") and more simply with loose 
morals. Thus on 343:^i--^2 Christ and Shem (and hence 
Los) are accused of bruiting forth "lewdbrogue" and "re- 
ciping his cheap cheateary gospeds to sintry and santry and 
sentry and suntry" (Los as the sun).^^ 

224:-^^ Joyce here nicely combines "With a Song in My 
Heart" with the idea of restriction to which Los-Blake was 
constantly opposed. The sense of the passage is to loosen the 
bonds on art and hence to re-Los (release) it. Cf. 323:31-32 
for the ideas of being bound by, and loose or free from, Los- 
time. Other brief mentions of Los as singer are 296:i6-i8 
(with Nick and angels), 304:^i (with Jerusalem), 3S9:ig, 
S33:i6-ij (with Demelli, the original name of Austrian 
composer Franz von Suppe). 

241:2 J 8 These two contradictory references link Los first 
with destruction and loss, then with Blake himself: "loss- 
assinated" and "Collosul rhodomantic." The latter is es- 
pecially interesting since it evokes the image of a colossal 
sun or Los along with Cecil Rhodes and the Colossus of 
Rhodes (the latter, of course, a statue of Apollo, god of po- 
etry, music, oracles, associated often with the sun). Taken 
with 181:^ and 492:5, it also suggests that Joyce was thinking 
of Blake as a colossus of the Romantic Period. 


247:2--^ Los and Enitharmon are mentioned here ex- 
plicitly, and for the first time associated with Swift and Nick 
(and hence Shem) and the maker of literature. Los is of 
course the time maker (in the world of Generation) as well 
as the ''timekiller" (in the world of eternity or Regeneration), 
and Enitharmon is the ''spacemaker." More interesting, how- 
ever, is the veiled allusion to Swift and Los's anvil in the 
same phrase, 'Velos ambos" {velocey swiftly, a French musi- 
cal direction, and Amboss, German for anvil ).22 Nick of 
course is present in ''knychts" (i.e. nichts) which is then 
both creative and destructive. Finally Arabic rubai means 
composed of four (like Omar's quatrains), thus evoking here 
the Four Zoas (four knights) and their epic Blakean ''tales 
within wheels." 

318:33-35 An especially fascinating passage since it seems 
to allude to Blake's vision of Leviathan emerging as ''a fiery 
crest above the waves" in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell; 
to the Blakean idea of the spectre as the reasoning power, 
the dark side of man; and to the sense of loss (the opposite 
of Los) at such a birth. The Los reference is strengthened 
by the more positive notions inherent in the ''irised" sea 
(iris-rainbow, and perhaps the idea of Blake-Los emerging 
triumphant as Irish prophets) and in the word ''nngnr," 
which I take to refer obliquely to Nunn, in Egyptian my- 
thology the personification of the germ of all life which slept 
in the flood until creation, as Mrs. Glasheen notes. Then too, 
inherent in ''spectrum" is not only Blake's spectre but also 
the idea of vision (Latin spectrum). 

333 :i Los plus King Wenceslaus, and an evocation of 
Christ and Christmas in the curious Blakean context of 
wenching (cf. particularly Blake's The Everlasting Gospel 
for his view of the adulterous Mary). Skeat, whose dictionary 
Joyce used constantly, provides the key here, for he lists 
wenchely as used in the Ormulum, to mean a male child, 

341:2^-2^ Underneath the horse-race jargon and the 

Joyce and Blake 213 

glance at Windsor Palace, we have also Blake's heliotrope 
("Ah! Sun-Flower") and the sun-Los-scope, that is, Los's 
prophetic, bardic vision, which may be echoed in the last 
phrase, reminiscent of Blake's idea of the five senses being 
the body's gates (here the gates of sight). 

357:21 In the context of hce's comment on the Russian 
General story, Joyce pictures him sitting in the outhouse 
thumbing through a leaflet (Joyce's works, as well as Blake's, 
as the previous page makes clear), while at the same time a 
vision of Blake-Los emerges. The scene, a favorite of Joyce's 
(cf. Bloom in the outhouse in Ulysses) , is consistently re- 
lated in Finnegan to Joyce's and Blake's writings. Part of 
the connection, of course, is in Joyce's alleged crudeness and 
pornography but the rest of it, I believe, stems from Joyce's 
probably happy discovery of Blake's lyric, ''When Klopstock 
England defied." So often indeed does Joyce evoke the figure 
of Blake's Nobodaddy farting, belching, and coughing 
"aloft," and so curiously apt for the crime in Phoenix Park 
are Blake's lines describing himself "giving his body ease / At 
Lambeth beneath the poplar trees," that surely the final lines 
of the poem would stick in Joyce's memory too: 

H Bhke could do this when he rose up from shite 
What might he not do ii he sat down to wiite? 

Thus in the present passage from the Wake there is a refer- 
ence to Blake's Songs of Innocence ("idylly"), to the turning 
of his bowels in the Klopstock poem ("turmbing"), to Los 
and Luvah, one of the Four Zoas ("loose looves"), to The 
Book of Thel and "The Lamb" ("the lamatory"), which is 
his "thesis" ("my this is"). The concluding hues of this pas- 
sage {357:^1-^^) may also echo the oft repeated stor}^ of 
Blake and his wife sitting naked in their garden as Adam and 

376:i6-iy Nick, unbound by Time, and Los are joined 
here by Nefi (a seventeenth-century poet who was executed 


for his satiric writings) and Justus van Effen (Dutch jour- 
nahst who translated among other things Swift's Tale of a 
Tub into French). 

410:4-^ Translated this becomes ''O Los! Alas! O loss!" 
A solarium {''oloss olorium") in ancient Rome was a sun- 
dial or clock, and "Olor" of course refers to the dying swan 
and his song. In a similar passage involving swans {S48:^^) 
Joyce originally rendered the word "oloss" as ''olos/' thus 
clinching the Los reference. See also 547:8. 

422:6-8 A vulgar scurrilous comment by Shaun upon 
Shem and his activities. The word ''lowsense" combines Los's 
sense, licence, and probably nonsense; ''cyphalos" combines 
cipher, phallus, syphihs, and Los. This idea of the produc- 
tion of dirty songs is followed up later on this page with the 
famihar reference to Los's song, ''Melosedible" (line 26). 
Why it is edible I don't know. 

4S0:io-i2 An interesting combination of Sol, Shelley, 
Benn, and Los. The sun and singing (solfa) leads directly 
to Shelley and Los (buried in ''jealosomines"), while ''benu- 
volent" evokes Benn, the Egyptian bird thought to embody 
Ra (the sun), plus the idea of flying (Latin volare). Since 
Joyce often associates Shelley with his poem *To a Skylark," 
the several Los references merge neatly, with Los as poet, 
skylark, sun, and singer. 

469:21-22 A complex passage which begins with the fre- 
quent Joycean idea of the sohtary singer or poet standing 
against the world, a role he consciously shared, as we have 
seen, with Blake: hence ''So Los alone; Los goodbye" (cf. 
496:13). *'Erynnana" refers both to Erin, and to Erinna (a 
Greek poetess, friend of Sappho), and perhaps also to the 
rann, a stanza form in Irish verse. ''Singame" I take as a 
reference to J. M. Synge as well as of course to the literal 
notion of the poet's song. And the passage concludes, after 
a possible nod to the Four Zoas ("soarem"), with the note 
of aloneness with which it began (Greek erem, solitary). 

471:8 "Estellos and venoussas" involves not only Stella, 

Joyce and Blake 215 

Vanessa, and the stars, but also the polar opposites of the 
beginning (Los as creator) and the end (Greek telos), day 
(Venus as morning star) and night (Venus as evening star). 

S80:i8 Los and "Time's winged chariot" from Marvell's 
''To His Coy Mistress/' all in a Shemmian context. For Mar- 
veil and Los together see also 177 :i^. 

593:^2 Here Los appears backwards ("sowls"), conform- 
ing to the usage in the following lines of ''Nuahs" (Shaun), 
''Mehs" (Shem), and 'Tu Nuseht" (the sun-up), and also 
to signify the darkness being dispelled by the light of a new 
era — i.e. a new Los superseding an *'owld sowl." That new 
"light" of course is Shaun-St. Patrick, who represents a world 
inimical to Los's world of the Blake-Shem-Joyce-like artist. 


Other Blakean characters in Finnegans Wake are not as 
consistent in their context nor as frequent in their occur- 
rence as Los. Joyce did, however, have another favorite, Thel 
from The Book of Thel, whom he seemed to think of in 
relation to "Leutha's vale" and "Leutha's flower" (the vale 
and flower of sexual experience) in Visions of the Daughters 
of Albion. Briefly, Thel, despite the wise teachings of a lily, 
a cloud, a clod of clay, cannot bring herself to enter the grave 
of experience (the world of sexual experience and, generally, 
the world of Blake's London, Joyce's Dubhn), and instead 
retreats to a kind of false, hypocritical innocence in the vales 
of Har. This false "paradise" is presented graphically by 
Blake in Tiriel in his bitter parody of the state of innocence 
in which aged Har and Heva dwell. In Visions of the Daugh- 
ters of Albion, however, Oothoon (another version of Thel) 
has the courage to move beyond innocence into the world of 
experience by plucking Leutha's flower. Joyce refers to all 
three of these contexts via the characters Thel, Har, Heva, 


and Leutha. The following, then^ is a list of the occurrences 
of the Thel story and of various other Blakean characters with 
some suggestion as to their pertinence to the Joycean con- 

19:ig Perhaps an allusion to The Book of IJrizen, ix, ^-8, 
in which the character of Fuzon appears. The Book of Ahania 
chronicles his further history. 

94:6-7 Hand is another of Blake's great villains, whom 
Yeats (in Blake's Works^ i, 383) calls "the most analytical, 
unimaginative, destructive of all the personalities that make 
up Albion, the Fallen Man." 

113:^6 Blake's Nobodaddy, equatable to the worst of 
tyrants, Jehovah, the conventional, hypocritical "God of this 
world," "nobody's daddy." He is referred to again on 2S3:i6 
as "Noodynaady's" (perhaps a pun on the Russian for tire- 

117:22 Blake's Enion, whom Yeats calls "the eternal 

173:1^ Albion, Blake's version of hce, is here combined 
with the idea of warring opposites inherent in the Mani- 
chaean heresy of the Albigenses. Albion is referred to often 
in Finnegans Wake as might be expected, especially on 
343:9, 346:^, 483:22, 484:2^, 488:2^,489:^2, and 611:8. 

188:20-2/f. In this passage Shaun's self-righteous, hypo- 
critical fear for his own loss is precisely parallel to Thel's 
( "the loss" ) fear of losing her crown, her beauty, her pleas- 
ant life if she enters the terrible, sinful grave of experience — 
that is, the life of this world. The horror of Thel's grave-plot 
is further intensified later {4S0:^o) by reference to poisons 
of various kinds. 

314:32-33 Besides the two references to Thel by name, 
this entire paragraph may be a vague parody of Blake's The 
Book of Thel, especially her fear of the "little curtain of flesh 
on the bed of our desire." Cf. 422:28, 

3S3:2g-^o "Hullulullu, Bawlawayo" is not a character 
but probably Blake's Bowlahoola, a dark region of the glut- 

Joyce and Blake 217 

tonous senses, associated with the stomach and the bowels. 
Joyce also refers to it on 520:33 and 608:8-g. 

369:ig Luvah, one of Blake's Four Zoas, is fundamen- 
tally love, which relates him here to Samuel Lover, nine- 
teenth-century Irish novelist, songwriter, and painter, born 
in Dublin. He wrote, among other things. Handy Andy, to 
which Joyce often refers in Finnegans Wake. Luvah is used 
again, more clearly, on 357 :2i and 385:2^. 

427:^2-1,^ For Blake the spectre is the blind, visionless, 
reasoning power in man, the contrary of the poet-prophet. 
Hence here Joyce properly elevates Shaun as the *'spec- 
turesque" spokesman for the dark side of Shem. See also 

447 :i^ A phrase reminiscent, in rhythm and content, of 
Blake's triune tyrant, father-priest-king — although Shelley 
may also come to mind. 

4S9:i^-i^ 'Ithiel" in Hebrew means ''God is with me" 
(as Thel fervently wishes) and ''athel" is Anglo-Saxon for 
noble (Thel is inordinately proud of her noble bearing as 
Queen of the Vales of Har; it is this pride in self, indeed, 
which makes her unwilling to enter the grave of experi- 

484:2g-^o One of the most direct references to The Book 
of Thel, despite the fact that TheFs name is split between 
the two words "the leabhour." For Blake Thel's entering the 
grave means her entering the world of Generation, which is 
the image of, and the road to, regeneration. Since leabhar is 
the Irish word for book, the passage, translated, reads: the 
Thel book of my (her) generation. Cf. 48S:^i for the ''song" 
of Thel. 

494:6 Ore is Blake's fiery spirit of revolt (cf. 612:2), 
properly associated here with Bellona, the Roman Goddess 
of War. At the same time Joyce seems to allude to Ona, the 
girl lost in the state of experience ("A Little Girl Lost") and 
to the fallen (or lost) Earth in the "Introduction" and 
"Earth's Answer" of Songs of Experience. Cf. 74:i-y. 


515:28 ''Bamboozelem" is a corruption of Blake's Edenic 
realm, Jerusalem and Golgonooza, the city of Art. 

536:^^-^6 A striking reference to the world of Har, and 
of Har's tyrant son Tiriel, a world of Herod-like tyranny 
over nation and children (''kinder") alike, a world in which 
the will is exerted for selfish gain and comfort (German 
wohl). In such a world there is indeed nothing like Leutha's 
vale, in which the golden marigold freely gives of herself in 
the divine knowledge (and vision) that ''the soul of sweet 
delight / Can never pass away" (Visions of the Daughters 
of Albion). The sentence carries the contrary meaning as 
well, for "leuther" also calls up the figure of Luther, whose 
own brand of religious tyranny parallels that of Har and 
Herod. For Har see also 579:28, and for Heva, his equally 
culpable queen, see 271:2^ and 494:26. 


There remains one other category of Blakean allusion in 
Finnegans Wake, Blake's works by quotation, title, and/or 
rhythmic pattern. This last of course is the most problemati- 
cal of the three, and I have given here only a few examples 
that sound right to my ear; but with Joyce's good ear, his 
use of song rhythms and lyrics, and his mimicking of 
limericks and nursery rhymes, we should not be surprised to 
find him using Blake's poetry in the same way. 

15:22 An echo of the marigold's invitation to Oothoon, 
in Visions of the Daughters of Albion, to pluck her flower. 

43:io In the first "Memorable Fancy" of The Marriage 
of Heaven and Hell Blake is delighted with his vision of hell, 
which to others is "torment and insanity." 

43:2^-26 Joyce has in mind here the private process of 
"printing" Blake employed for his works, and especially the 
"heretical" Marriage of Heaven and Hell, in which Blake an- 
nounces (i) that he will do his "printing in the infernal 

Joyce and Blake 219 

method, by corrosives, which in Hell are salutary and me- 
dicinal" (one of Joyce's favorite passages); (2) that he was 
once ''in a Printing house in Hell" (the third ''Memorable 
Fancy"); and (3) that he has written "The Bible of Hell, 
which the world shall have whether they will or no" (fifth 
"Memorable Fancy"). But Delville was also the home of 
the Delaneys where Swift and Stella often visited (and hence 
refers to their "private" language). More obviously the devil 
is Blake's (in the Marriage) as well as perhaps Deville, the 
phrenologist who made a life-mask of "the real Blake," a 
reproduction of which Joyce saw as the frontispiece of E. J. 
Ellis's book, The Real Blake. Finally the "rimepress of Del- 
ville" is reminiscent of Blake's phrase, "winepress of Luvah," 
glossed by Yeats as connected with the human heart, the 
French Revolution, poetry, and ultimately with Christ. 

74:i-y "He skall wake from earthsleep ... in his valle 
of briers of Greenman's Rise O." These and several neigh- 
boring phrases suggest Blake's "Introduction" and "Earth's 
Answer" from Songs of Experience, "The Little Girl Lost" 
(hues ^s), and perhaps "The Garden of Love," though the 
briar imagery has its ultimate source in the Bible. Also 
74:g-ii recalls Blake's "Laughing Song" (line 1). 

95:29-30 A combination of Blake's "The Little Boy 
Lost" and "The Little Boy Found" {Songs of Innocence) 
and "The Little Girl Lost" and "The Little Girl Found" 
{Songs of Experience). Another of the songs, "The Eccho- 
ing Green," is alluded to in line ^6, though Joyce may also 
have in mind the "bud and blossom" of Blake's poem 

96:i Frances Boldereff (in Reading Finnegans Wake) 
identifies this with Mangan's My Dark Rosaleen and the 
earlier poem "My Little Black Rose"; but Joyce may also be 
alluding to Blake's "The Sick Rose," for the next line refers 
to a companion song of experience, "Ah! Sun-Flower." Mrs. 
Boldereff correctly identifies 150:26 as a reference to Blake's 
"Mary" (line 21). 

169:22-2^ In Blake's famous letter to Thomas Butts (22 


November 1802) a thistle on his path has words with him, 
and he outKnes briefly his system of four-fold vision. Joyce's 
''garden nursery" suggests Catherine Blake's father, who was 
a nursery gardener, a fact E. J. Ellis makes much of in The 
Real Blake. 

17S:i A phrase from the "Proverbs of Hell" {The Mar- 
riage of Heaven and Hell) : ''As the air to a bird or the sea 
to a fish, so is contempt to the contemptible." 

229:26, 36 A quotation from the "Introduction" to Songs 
of Innocence (line 1^) plus Blake's idea of innocence gen- 
erally and the "inner," symbolic sense of his art. 

2S2:ii Blake's harlot in the poem "London." 

273 -.footnote 6 Probably a reference to Blake's conception 
of Mary as unchaste, and Christ's birth out of what the re- 
ligious call "adultery." For example, in The Everlasting 
Gospel Blake writes, "Mary fear Not! Let me see / The 
Seven Devils that torment thee"; "But this, O Lord, this was 
my Sin / When first I let these Devils in / In dark pretence 
to Chastity"; and "Just such a one as Magdalen / With 
seven devils in her Pen." 

31S:^o-^i At the end of The Marriage of Heaven and 
Hell Blake writes of a "converted Angel" who "is now be- 
come a Devil, is my particular friend." 

387:^^ Blake's famous picture of a naked youth rising 
in the sun, until recently was known as Glad Day (cf. line 
36 here: "The new world presses"). Joyce mentions the pic- 
ture again on 470:1^. 

390:i6 and 391:6 A double reference to Blake's "The 
Chimney Sweeper," in which the child sold into sooty 
slavery "Could scarcely cry 'weep! 'weep! 'weep! 'weep!" but 
in a dream freed from their "coffins of black," all the sweep- 
ers "leaping, laughing" run down a green plain. 

470.7 Blake's "Ah! Sun-Flower," with its significance re- 
versed to fit into the Shaunian context — hence a midnight 
sunflower, reflecting the famihar Blake- white pattern. Simi- 
larly on 350:11 the sunflower is "flawed." See also S09:2i. 

476:2g--^i Blake's idea of man being closed up in the 

Joyce and Blake 221 

cave of his body, with only "narrow chinks" through which 
to perceive the external world. This severe limitation of 
vision to sense perception is the opposite of the poet's vision, 
or, as Joyce puts it here, such bhndness is tantamount to the 
body's censoring the soul's vision. On this point see espe- 
cially The Marriage of Heaven and Hell and the beginning 
of Europe: A Prophecy. 

481:y-g A remarkable passage, which would take too 
long to elucidate here. To understand its wealth of allusion 
one needs to consult Blake's ''A Dream," "The Little Girl 
Lost" and "The Little Girl Found," "A Little Girl Lost," 
"Introduction" to Experience, "Earth's Answer," and "Ah! 

S0S:i6-iy This whole sentence has a Blakean ring to it, 
but Joyce again has in mind particularly The Marriage of 
Heaven and Hell: "No bird soars too high, if he soars with 
his own wings"; "When thou seest an Eagle, thou seest 
a portion of Genius; lift up thy head!" The Marriage 
reference continues in line 21 with the phrase "steyne of 
law," recalling another Proverb of Hell: "Prisons are built 
with stones of Law, Brothels with bricks of religion." Lines 
2^1.-2^ pick up the idea of vision (finite and infinite) and 
Joyce here seems to mimic Blake's Proverbs of Hell prose 
style (I find no particular source for the passage): "Finight 
mens midinfinite true. The form masculine. The gender 
feminine. I see." ^^ And, finally, Joyce concludes with a ref- 
erence (line 30) to the weeping Daughters of Albion in 
Blake's Visions of the Daughters of Albion. 

S49:g-i2 This passage may be a parody of Blake's more 
horrific passages in the prophetic books, especially the string 
of resounding, melodramatic adjectives. Joyce has done this 
once before in the Wake (356:30-36), describing and imi- 
tating Blake's prophetic style (as well as describing the Wake 
itself). See also 409:28-29. 

576:14-16 Blake's "A Cradle Song" {Songs of Inno- 
cence), though other lullabies may also come to mind. 

621:^o--^i An allusion to Blake's child of innocence, per- 


haps more particularly the frontispiece of Songs of Inno- 
cence, a picture of the piper and his pipe, and/or the 
frontispiece of Songs of Experience, which shows the same 
figure striding away from the flocks of innocence (the 
'Veenywhite steeds"?) in the background toward experi- 
ence. That state of experience is alluded to a few lines later 
(lines S4~3S) via phrases which echo the ''blackening Church" 
and ''Marriage hearse" of Blake's poem "London." Le Fanu's 
The House by the Churchyard, a frequent reference in the 
Wake, is here also; but as if to strengthen the Blake allusion 
Joyce in line 36 evokes Sterne ("treestirm shindy"), with 
whom he associates Blake earlier in the Wake. 


Allowing for error, for overreading and overeagerness, one 
must still be impressed with the overwhelming evidence that 
Blake was seldom out of Joyce's thoughts when writing Fin- 
negans Wake. On the simplest level these manifold allusions 
deepen the significance of separate passages and widen the 
scope of the whole; but they also suggest that Joyce's inti- 
mate knowledge of Blake's life and the Blake canon, and his 
intense sympathy with Blake's vision, were controlling ele- 
ments in his own vast undertaking. As Frances Boldereff 
says, "Blake being a man whom he [Joyce] trusted and whom 
he was willing to accept as a teacher, from whose beliefs 
... he deviated in [no] major particular," represents "Joyce's 
closest alliance to another human being" [Reading Finne- 
gans Wake, p. 73). I am not sure that I can go quite this 
far but certainly the alliance is as close as it is complex and 
difficult — and eminently worthy of continued study and 

Joyce and Blake 223 


1. A translation of the lecture appears in The Critical Writ- 
ings of James Joyce, ed. Ellsworth Mason and Richard Ellmann 
(New York, 1959). For the Italian original see Criticism, i 
(1959), 182-89. 

2. Hugh Kenner, 'The Portrait in Perspective," James Joyce: 
Two Decades of Criticismy ed. S. Givens (New York, 1948), 
p. 142. 

3. "Quest and Cycle in Finnegans Wake/' The James Joyce 
Review, 1 (1957), 39-47- 

4. The Works of William Blake, ed. Ellis and Yeats (Lon- 
don, 1893), 3 vols.; Ellis, The Real Blake (London, 1907). 

5. Cf. Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, first 
"Memorable Fancy." 

6. In his Blake lecture Joyce remarks that Blake and his 
brother Robert "recall the story of David and Jonathan," a 
relationship used often in the Wake and frequently associated 
with Jonathan Swift. 

7. Fearful Symmetry (Princeton, 1947), p. 44. 

8. All references to Finnegans Wake are to the Viking Press 
Edition (1939) by page and line numbers, as here. 

9. I am indebted here, as I am constantly and obviously 
throughout this paper, to A Skeleton Key to Finnegans Wake 
by Joseph Campbell and Henry M. Robinson (New York, 


10. See, e.g.. The Book of Urizen, 11, 7-8; viii, 4. 

11. The Works of William Blake, i, 204. 

12. For "Edam" (Edom) and the reeking see also plate 3 and 
the fourth "Memorable Fancy" of The Marriage of Heaven and 

13. See The Complete Writings of William Blake, ed. Geof- 
frey Keynes (London, New York, 1957), pp. 536-59. 

14. 185:34-186:2. On the corrosive etching see especially the 
first "Memorable Fancy" and plate 14 of The Marriage of 
Heaven and Hell. For the "continuous present tense integu- 
ment" applied to Blake, see the passage from Joyce's lecture 
quoted above, section i. 


15. See The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, plate 14, and 
Europe, plate iii. On the basis of the Blake allusions alone, then, 
I am forced to disagree, at least in this particular context, with 
Mrs. Glasheen's reversal of the roles of Butt and Taff {The 
Analyst, xvii [1959], 11-14). Perhaps the solution to the prob- 
lem (which may create graver problems of course) is that Joyce 
used the two names ambiguously at times. This is certainly sug- 
gested by the eventual merger of the pair into Tuff and Batt. 

16. For the more severe, bardic Shem (still associated with 
Blake's reed and printing ink), see 433:8-9. 

17. Joyce seems also to have in mind here Herrick's poem, "To 
the Virgins, to Make Much of Time," in the phrase "gamut 
my . . . blackbudds." Joyce's description of Billy Budd on page 
234 of the Wake seems to identify him with Shaun, however. 
Still, if the reference here on page 450 is to Billy Budd he is 
certainly placed in the context of Blakean innocence, pipers, 
buds, and blossoms. 

18. The allusion in the last phrase is, I suspect, to Anna 
Letitia Barbauld's ("boybold") saccharine works for children, 
in which all the boys are chubby little loves — a reflection of 
Shaun's own sentimental conventionality as well as a contrast 
to his tyrannical brutality. For other possible references to Mrs. 
Barbauld see 169:4 (with Blue Beard) and 207:8-9 (with Anna 
Livia and Pavlova). 

19. Joyce, however, says (letter to Miss Weaver, 16 Aug. 
1924) that St. Patrick is Shem. I suppose we should accept 
this, but in terms of the Blake allusions the contrast between 
St. Patrick and Berkeley is a sharp one — and clearly Berkeley is 
not Shaun. St. Patrick and Ireland are as identical as Paddy and 
Irishman, and surely the new dawn is not idealistic or Blakean. 
Perhaps, though, because it is new light (Blake's Los) dispel- 
ling darkness, the dawn does have at least some Shemmian rays. 

20. Part of the problem in spotting the Zoas, as well as one 
of the keys to their frequent usage, is Joyce's spelling. He 
seldom uses the awkward "z" sound, so that his reference inheres 
in such phrases as "so as," "so and," "so on," and so forth; 
or in any number of words subject to German pronunciation, 
such as "soap," "soar," "soak," "zoo," "soever." Our major check 
on Joyce's usage is his relative consistency in providing a four of 

Joyce and Blake 225 

some sort in the Zoan context — "four," "for," "fur," "far," 
"fear," "quad," etc. Some of these Zoan contexts are 4:28, 57:7, 
101:15, 152:1, 171:34-35, 180:6, 181:15, 200:13, 222:22, 
241:28, 250:28-29, 266:9, 301:14, 305:note 3, 310:18-20 
(with Los, his hammer and anvil), 332:26, 349:4, 393:2-3 (with 
Christ), 405:35-36 (with Blake), 407:18, 410:2, 415:23, 
425:22-23 (with Shem and Blake), 469:22, 482:34, 505:17, 
517:30, 522:34-35 (if one did psychoanalyze oneself, his findings 
are clearly referable to the over-all significance of Blake's Zoas ) , 
546:21, 552:15, 555:9, 560:28, 566:10, 597:12, 598:1-2, 601:2, 
611:14, 614:5, 615:11, 628:6. 

21. Professor Joseph Prescott has pointed out to me that 
"cheateary gospeds" puns on the Russian words for "four Gods" 
(hence the Four Zoas?). 

22. See 200:15 for the negative of this: "so umvolosy" — that 
is, unswift or un-Swiftlike, and unlike Los. 

23. Such mimicry of the "Proverbs" is even clearer on 

In the Wake of the Fianna: 



I N offering these addenda et corrigenda to Adaline Gla- 
sheen's Census of Finnegans Wake, I don't want to belittle 
in any way the achievement which her book represents. Even 
now that James S. Atherton's The Books at the Wake has 
appeared, I feel that the Census is, for me, still the most 
useful book on the Wake. Mrs. Glasheen's brief ''Synopsis" 
is valuable because it keeps the total picture before one in 
the minimum of space. As for the table ''Who Is Who 
When Everybody Is Somebody Else," I can hardly praise it 
enough. No doubt it could use some additions and correc- 
tions, but it dramatizes the multiple levels of the book as 
no other method of presentation could, while stimulating 
the reader to fill gaps and find new parallels on his own. 
One suggestion I would make is that room should be found 
in the table for Oedipus and his unhappy family. 

VIVIAN MERCIER wds boTu iti DubUn and returned there to attend 
Trinity College for nine years; his boyhood was spent elsewhere 
in Ireland. Now an Associate Professor of English at The City Col- 
lege of New York, he has taught a course in Joyce at the Univer- 
sity of California (Berkeley). His book, The Irish Comic Tradition, 
which contains a chapter on Joyce and Irish parody, is due to be 
published in 1962. While at work on it he received a Ford Fellow- 
ship and an acls grant. 


In The Wake of Fianna 227 

The ''Census" itself will certainly remain indispensable 
until somebody produces for Finnegans Wake the equivalent 
of Miles Hanley's Word Index to ''Ulysses'; but it would 
be altogether unfair to regard the ''Census" merely as an 
index, for it contains a vast number of accurate identifica- 
tions, besides giving a world of insight into the treatment 
of the main characters and themes. An article like the present 
one is merely the frosting on the cake and would be impos- 
sible to write were there not already a rich, substantial cake 
to frost. Without the stimulus and guidance of Mrs. Gla- 
sheen's book, I would never have found the energy to as- 
semble my scattered insights here. 

Because I was brought up in Ireland and because Irish 
literature is my field, most of my comments will deal with 
the Irish background of the Wake. It is amazing how much 
of this Mrs. Glasheen has succeeded in tracking down. When 
I read, for example, her entry on Fintan Mac Bochra, I 
wonder how long it would have taken me to discover the 
information it contains were I not already familiar with this 
legendary figure through specialized reading. On the other 
hand, perhaps only a specialist could recognize the Irish 
sea god Manannan Mac Lir in "moananoaning" (FW 628). 

The Census contains relatively few errors that the average 
Irishman could see at first glance, but if Mrs. Glasheen was 
reviewed in Ireland, she has probably heard of them ad 
nauseam. For instance, the Liffey becomes tidal at Island- 
bridge, but it does not empty into Dublin Bay for miles yet; 
the Four Courts were not burned in the Easter Rebellion of 
1916, but blown up during the Civil War in 1922; Tom 
Kettle was killed in France in World War i and therefore 
could not have helped found the Irish Free State years later; 
Alfie Byrne may well have been a friend of Joyce's father, but 
he was also important to the Wake as Lord Mayor of Dubhn 
from 1930 through part of 1939. 

Omissions present quite a difl^erent problem from errors: 
in discussing such an all-inclusive book as the Wake, nobody 


can ever hope to say with certainty that he has tracked down 
everything which Joyce intended to convey in even a single 
word. Still, there are certain Irish names which one would 
expect to find in the Wake but which do not occur in the 
Census. Let me give a few examples, some obvious, some 

James Stephens, the Irish poet, whom Joyce had selected 
to finish the Wake if he himself died or became incapaci- 
tated before the end, would surely not have been omitted, 
though Mrs. Glasheen does not list him and Mr. Atherton 
thinks, very reasonably, that Joyce has adopted his person- 
ality as another facet of his own: after all, Joyce and 
Stephens were born on the same day and shared the same 
first name and profession. However, Stephens does appear 
in a list of Irish writers on page 211: ''for Seumas, thought 
little, a crown he feels big." Stephens was very short and 
''Seumas Beg" ("Little James") was one of his personae in 
his poetry: in 1915 he published a volume entitled The Ad- 
ventures of Seumas Beg. No doubt the crown he felt big 
was the doubtful privilege of being chosen to finish the 
Wake, though perhaps King James 11, who lost the Battle 
of the Boyne, is also being referred to. Stephens, incidentally, 
had a large, domed crown to his head. 

Another striking omission, if it occurred, would be that 
of Patrick (Padraic) Pearse, the real leader of the Easter 
Rebellion and thus the "father" of the Irish Republic. But 
I think he is always present when that father-figure Persse 
O'Reilly is mentioned, usually accompanied by The 
O'Rahilly, who was killed in the Rebellion. At any rate, 
Pearse occurs twice under his own name, in "Yes, pearse," 
{262) and "pearse orations" (620); Pearse was famous in 
Ireland as an orator even before 1916: his Political Writings 
and Speeches should be listed in Atherton. Incidentally, 
Persse was Lady Gregory's maiden name; I haven't yet iden- 
tified her satisfactorily in the Wake, but she must be there. 

Ulysses often suggests names that might occur in the 

In The Wake of Fianna 229 

Wake^ as Mrs. Glasheen is well aware. One of the more 
recondite is that of Solam O'Droma ("Solomon of Droma/' 
U — Modern Library Edition — p. 331), one of the scribes 
of the Book of Ballymote; I believe he is referred to in 
''Solman Annadromus" {FW 4S^)^ along with the Salmon 
of Knowledge which Finn ate, Fintan in his incarnation as 
a salmon, and the biblical Solomon. 

Equally recondite, but much more important to the Wake, 
probably, is the great Irish Neoplatonist philosopher, Greek 
scholar, and heretical theologian, John Scotus Eri(u)gena 
(830-880?), who is referred to in Ulysses {^) simply as 
"Scotus," thus leading many readers to mistake him for 
Duns Scotus; as can be seen on page 160 of the Critical 
Writings, Joyce was already familiar with some of his achieve- 
ments in 1907. Mr. Atherton devotes a paragraph to him, 
saying that he is named several times in the Wake but 
quoting only "erigenating" (4), which I had already recog- 
nized. I think Mr. Atherton included this paragraph as an 
afterthought, not having realized that Erigena's De Divisione 
Naturae anticipates Vico and reinforces the structure of the 
Wake by its quadripartite and cyclical theory of the uni- 
verse. James F. Kenney in his Sources for the Early History 
of Ireland (p. ^84) describes this work as a philosophico- 
theological discussion of "Nature," which is divided into 
four aspects, one being the Neoplatonic "one" — God as the 
origin of all things. Note that the Greek for "one" becomes 
hen when transliterated; I am sure that Platonism or Neo- 
platonism in general is the source of "that original hen" 
{FW 110). Since Joyce mentions Erigena's translation of 
Dionysius, the pseudo-Areopagite, in Critical Writings, the 
two references to "Dionysius" in the Wake {yo, ^oy) should 
be reexamined, though the second refers primarily to the 
god Dionysus. One of the weak points of Mr. Atherton's 
book is his neglect of the whole tradition of Neoplatonist 
philosophy, which obviously appealed to Joyce. 



In the body of this article I shall be trying to do two things 
at once: first, to solve some of the puzzles concerning things 
Irish that have baffled Mrs. Glasheen; second, to indicate 
the kind of knowledge needed to solve them, so that future 
commentators need have less trouble with similar ones. In 
spite of Andrew Cass's two articles (''Sprakin Sea Djoytsch," 
Irish Times, April 6, 1947; ''Child Horrid's Pilgrimace," 
Envoy, v (1951), 19-30.), the first of which is the more 
important, American scholars still fail to realize how much 
reference to the Irish scene of the 1930's Finnegans Wake 
contains. We must remember that Joyce read the Irish 
newspapers assiduously; also, once Ireland had a radio station, 
Radio Athlone (''Rowdiose wodhalooing," FW 324), power- 
ful enough to be picked up in France, Joyce seems to have 
spent a good deal of time listening to it. The ''tolvtubular 
. . . daildialler" (309) is blaring away all through the pub 
scene (309-82, especially ^2^-2^, 359-60), and radio cliches 
occur elsewhere: "Sponsor programme and close down" 
(531); stock market and livestock prices (533); news head- 
hnes {610); "And here are the details" {611), a favorite 
Radio Athlone expression. 

Andrew Cass has dropped broad hints that 1932 is the 
"ideal date" of the Wake; this fifteen-hundredth anniversary 
of the arrival of St. Patrick was a kind of annus mirabilis for 
Ireland: De Valera first came to power that year and the 
International Eucharistic Congress of the Roman Catholic 
Church was held in Dubhn, a Pontifical High Mass being 
celebrated before a congregation of one million in the Phoenix 
Park. Also, Joyce and De Valera both reached the age of 
fifty. Later in the year, a new Governor-General of the Irish 
Free State was appointed; he was destined to be both the last 

In The Wake of Fianna 231 

and the lost ("the lost Gabbarnaur-Jaggarnath/' FW ^/p), 
and his name was Buckley ("Don Gouvemeur Buckley/' 
375). Let M. J. MacManus, the quasi-official biographer of 
Eamon de Valera, explain the motives for his appointment: 

De Valera . . . appointed . . . Donal [also spelled 
Domhnall] Ua Buachalla (Donald Buckley), a Maynooth 
business man, and one of the few Volunteer leaders who 
had succeeded in bringing his men from the country to 
Dublin in Easter Week. Under him the office of Governor- 
General was shorn of all dignity and prestige. He attended 
no public functions and did not even occupy the official 
residence. In his place de Valera himself received envoys 
from foreign countries. The office was degraded, as it was 
intended that it should be degraded, and when the new 
Constitution came in 1937 it passed out of existence. 

The coincidence of Buckley, Governor-General, with Joyce's 
father's story of how Buckley shot the Russian General must 
have delighted Joyce; I haven't worked out the details yet, 
but I think it follows that Buckley and the Russian General 
not only become "one and the same person" as Butt and 
Taff do {^S4) ^^* w^^^ o"^ ^"^ t^^ same person all along. 

In this same year of 1932 and for many years thereafter, 
Sean T. O'Kelly ("Shaunti and shaunti and shaunti again," 
^08) was De Valera's Deputy Premier, Alfie Byrne was Lord 
Mayor of Dublin, and Lorcan Sherlock ("Sherlook is lork- 
ing for him," ^^zf) was Sheriff. Joyce once calls Dubhn 
"Lorcansby" (448), not merely because of Sherlock, how- 
ever: St. Laurence O'Toole, the patron saint of Dublin, bears 
in Gaelic his rightful name of Lorcan Ua Tuathail. 

More than one commentator on Joyce has already men- 
tioned the "Dublin Annals" in Thom's Directory of Dublin, 
but I have found other sections of my 1942 edition of this 
year book equally useful. The alphabetical "List of the 
Nobility, Gentry, Merchants, and Traders in the City of 
Dublin and Suburbs" can be helpful in a number of ways. 
For instance, a passage on page /^^ of the Wake, "Peter Pim 
and Paul Fry and then EHiot and, O, Atkinson," baffled Mrs. 


Glasheen. I recognized Pirn and Atkinson as the names of 
two well-known firms in the drapery and poplin businesses, 
respectively; with the help of Thom's I soon discovered that 
Thomas ElHott {sic) and Sons are a firm of poplin and silk 
manufacturers and that Fry and Co. are ''carriage lace, silk 
and trimming manufacturers." In the same long sentence as 
these names there occur the words 'woollen/' "pophn/' 
"tabinet," "lace," and ''weaver's/' so I think my identifica- 
tions are correct. 

"Arnolff's" (443) is Arnott's department store on Henry 
Street, where a "flurewaltzer" or floorwalker might well be 
employed. I think the word also contains a reference to 
Arnolphe, the anxious husband-to-be in Moliere's U^cole des 
femmes, who prefers to be called Monsieur de la Souche 
because St. Arnulphus or Arnolphe is the patron saint of 

"Varian" is a name given Kate the Cleaner, Mrs. Glasheen 
knows, but she does not know why; again Thom's will help, 
for I. S. Varian & Co. are a firm of brush manufacturers in 
Dublin, natural associates for a cleaning woman. The "Mut- 
ther Masons" (223) are not only Freemasons muttering their 
rites but also the late "Mother" Mason's hotel and restau- 
rant opposite the Gaiety Theatre. A "Noblett's surprize" 
(306) is both a Nobel prize and a gift of candy from 
Noblett's store, as the phrase "parent who offers sweetmeats" 
indicates. "Adams and Sons, the wouldpay actionneers," {28) 
recall James Adam and Sons, auctioneers. Issy's "coldcream 
. . . from Boileau's" {^2y) suggests Boileau & Boyd, an old- 
established Dublin firm of wholesale druggists. One could 
fill an entire article with the allusions to firms whose names 
are "household words" in Dublin. 

Again, the "Alphabetical List of Streets" and "Dublin 
Street Directory" in Thom's sometimes provide useful clues, 
and not merely because Joyce mentions so many of Dublin's 
streets sooner or later: Many of the streets, naturally, are 
named after historical figures or have historical associations, 

In The Wake of Fianna 233 

like those in any other city. For instance, "foster's place" 
(490) recalls Foster Place, but 'Tomm Foster" {S4^) is a 
reminder that Foster Place lies next to the former Irish 
Parliament House, now the Bank of Ireland, and is named 
after John Foster, the last Speaker of the Irish House of 
Commons. Information like this can be obtained from 
C. T. M'Cready's Dublin Street Names Dated and Explained 
(Dubhn, 1892). Another useful httle book is Wilmot Harris's 
Memorable Dublin Houses (Dublin, 1890), which would 
have explained ''delville" (503) to Mrs. Glasheen. Delville 
was the home of Swift's friend and biographer. Dr. Patrick 
Delany. "Cope and Bull go cup and ball" (98) may again 
combine topography with a reference to Swift: Cope Street 
and Bull-Alley Street still exist in Dublin, the one named 
after Swift's friend Robert Cope and the other, when Bull 
Alley, having housed one or more of Swift's uncles. Thom's 
Hsts a Coppinger's Row, which, M'Cready says, was named 
from Robert Copinger or Coppinger, of near-by William 
Street, who was buried at St. Werburgh's in 1715. This is all 
the hght I can shed on the mysterious ''archdeacon F.X. 
Preserved Coppinger" {^s)y whom Mrs. Glasheen very ten- 
tatively identifies with Swift. 

Before leaving Dublin topography, I must mention one 
list of proper names which gave Mrs. Glasheen understand- 
able difficulty: ''the Pardonell of Maynooth, Fra Teobaldo, 
Nielsen, rare admirable, Jean de Porteleau, Conall Grete- 
cloke, Guglielmus Caulis and the eiligh ediculous Passivu- 
cant" isss)' Many Dubhners would hardly need the hint 
contained in "statuesques" to recognize some of the city's 
principal statues, named in roughly North-South order. The 
first is Parnell's, jokingly associated with the Roman Catho- 
lic seminary of Maynooth; then come Father Theobald 
Mathew's statue and that of Admiral Nelson on his Pillar. 
"Jean de Porteleau" refers to the statue of Sir John Gray, 
Chairman of the Waterworks Committee, who was knighted 
in 1865 for his services in bringing the pure water of the 


Vartry to Dublin: see "Dublin Annals" in Thorn's. Next 
comes Daniel O'ConnelFs statue with its great cloak. 
"Guglielmus Cadis" (''Wilham the Cabbage") is the statue 
of William Smith O'Brien, leader of the ''rebellion in a 
cabbage patch" of 1848, whose statue now stands to the 
north of O'ConnelFs, but would be remembered by Joyce 
as lying to the south. Finally, "Passivucant" seems to be 
Thomas Moore's statue, standing over an edicule or street 
lavatory ("The Meeting of the Waters") and inviting the 
citizen to pass if he can't pass (water) . 

We can now move to another area which raises difficulties: 
Joyce's knowledge of the Irish language and Gaelic literature. 
As far as the language goes, some knowledge of its pronun- 
ciation and a phrase-book (Joyce owned Fourier D'Albe's) 
are about all one needs. For instance, "Kenny's thought ye, 
Dinny Oozle!" (332) is a partly phonetic rendering of Conus 
td tUj a dhuine uasail, Irish for "How are you, sir." Mrs. 
Glasheen identifies the "Dinny Oozle" part correctly. Kenny 
is such a common Irish name that it is hard to identify it 
further. Joyce knew the names of some of the colors in Irish, 
a fact which helps to clear up the series of seven names in 
note 4, page ijj: "Roe, Williams, Bewey, Greene, Gorham, 
McEndicoth and Vyler." These are the colors of the rain- 
bow once again, in correct order. "Roe," "Bewey," "Gorham" 
are Irish ruadh, huidhe, gorm — red, yellow, blue. "Williams" 
is orange, after William of Orange; "Greene" is green; 
"McEndicoth" is indigo and perhaps also J. J. McElligott, 
long Secretary of the Irish Department of Finance, whose 
signature appears on many Irish banknotes; "Vyler" is violet, 
to complete the spectrum. 

On page 26y we have another sequence of seven or "primi- 
tive SEPT," but the rainbow is no help here, nor is a knowl- 
edge of Irish the only clue needed: "Adamman, Emhe, 
Issossianusheen and sometypes Yggely ogs Weib. Uwayoei!" 
If one gives "mh" its Gaelic pronunciations as "v," Adam 
and Eve are easily recognized, with a reference to St. 
Adamnan and perhaps to Emher, wife of Cuchulain. Since 

In The Wake of Fianna 235 

Irish is with an unvoiced "s" means either ''is" or ''and," 
we have several choices for "Issossianusheen"; taking it as 
EngKsh, we can get "Is Ossian Usheen?" — to which the 
answer is "yes." Ossian, Usheen, Oisin, are all acceptable 
versions of the name of Finn's poet son. As for "Yggely ogs 
Weib," if we take "ogs" as a phonetic rendering of Irish 
aguSj also meaning "and," we can recognize "W and Y." 
As "Uwayoei" hints, what we have is a list of the vowels and 
semivowels of traditional English grammar: A, E, I, O, U, 
and sometimes W and Y. With fiendish ingenuity Joyce 
makes the word for "W" begin with "Y" and the word for 
"Y" with "W." Perhaps the Earwicker family and their two 
servants are being named. None of this clarifies Issy's foot- 
note to "Adamman": "Only for he's fathering law I could 
skewer that old one and slosh her out." This, I think, brings 
us to Early Irish literature, for I see it as a reference to the 
Cain Adamndin (Adamndns Law) which forbade military 
service to women and laid down heavy penalties for the kill- 
ing of women. 

If I have explained Issy's footnote correctly, Joyce must 
have read more Gaelic literature in translation than Mr. 
Atherton suspects. Professor Daniel Binchy of the Dublin 
Institute for Advanced Studies has suggested in a lecture 
that Joyce knew George Calder's translation of Auraicept na 
n-l^ces {The Scholars' Primer) from the text in the Book 
of Ballymote. Here Joyce could have read of Fenius Farsaidh, 
who brought the Irish language from the Tower of Babel; 
is Fenius alluded to in "Finnius" {61^) or "pharce . . . 
phoenish" (4)? Is "Kennealey" {yi) Cennfaeladh, the sup- 
posed author of The Scholars* Primer, or is he Edward 
Vaughan Kenealy, the Irish versifier and counsel for the 
Tichborne Claimant, who in his old age turned to a pseudo- 
philological exegesis of the Apocalypse which is crazier than 
any parody of scholarship in the Wake? I wish Professor 
Binchy would publish something on Joyce's knowledge of 
Early Irish law, literature and learning. 

I hardly know how to describe the last kind of Irish knowl- 


edge I am going to mention: perhaps ''folk lore" or "nursery 
lore" would be a suitable term. Take for example this pas- 
sage on page 180: ''Cardinal Lindundarri and Cardinal 
Carchingarri and Cardinal Loriotuli and Cardinal Occi- 
dentaccia." Although Mrs. Glasheen identifies these prelates 
correctly as the Four, and therefore "Carchingarri" must be 
Mark Lyons, she places an asterisk against this name, mean- 
ing that she cannot identify it further. Now, this is no more 
than "Cork and Kerry" oddly spelled; these are two counties 
of the province of Munster, always represented by Mark. 
Clearly Mrs. Glasheen has never heard the riddle which 
many Irish children know: 

Londonderry, Cork and Kerry, 
Spell me that without a "K." 

The answer is "t-h-a-t, that," of course. Notice that Joyce 
has spelled "Cork and Kerry" without a "K"! The four 
Cardinals here represent both the four "cardinal" points of 
the compass and the four Irish provinces: Londonderry is 
in Ulster; "Loriotuli" is our old friend St. Laurence O'Toole 
again, standing for Dublin in the province of Leinster; 
"Occidentaccia" is Ireland's western province, Connaught. 


Besides many other Irish items, I have a number of iden- 
tifications in my notes which cannot by any stretch of the 
imagination be described as Irish. The chief point which a 
random listing of them would make is that almost any sort 
of knowledge will help in annotating the Wake. To do the 
job properly, one would have to know everything, not be- 
cause Joyce did, but in order to discover the limits bounding 
his and his friends' researches, some of which are recherches 

In The Wake of Fianna 237 

indeed. John H. Thompson once told me he had 120,000 file 
cards on the Wake. 

For one thing, a commentator needs some knowledge of 
philology, or perhaps I should say pseudo-philology: enough 
of something, anyway, that will enable him to see that 
"Yokeoff . . . Yokan" (531) are Jacobus and Johannes, 
James and John, Shem and Shaun, once again. Or to see that 
"Will, Conn . . . Otto" and "Vol . . . Pov . . . Dev" 
{^1 ) are both "will, can, ought to," whatever else they may 
refer to. 

A knowledge of English history can help a great deal: Mrs. 
Glasheen knows that the Duke of Wellington began life as 
Arthur Wellesley, but she seems to be unaware of another 
English general. Sir Garnet Wolseley, whose name, along 
with Cardinal Wolsey's and Judge Woolsey's, get involved 
with Wellesley's in, for example, "woolselywellesly" (52). 
Another figure from nineteenth-century English history is 
Charles Dilke, who, like Charles Parnell, had his political 
career ruined by a divorce case. He is "Jarley Jilke" {61 ) and 
probably "Dilke" (90). 

I don't know whether the famous urinating statue of 
Brussels, the Manneken piSy belongs in a census, but he is 
certainly in the Wake {ly^ ^8, 334). So are the Reuters and 
Havas news agencies, as "Rooters and Havers" {421). So is 
London's Wallace Collection of art, as "wallat's collectium" 
(153), with overtones of "wallet." 

Sometimes one is looking so obstinately for a particular 
identification that he completely misses another. This has 
happened to me so often that I wept for Mrs. Glasheen in 
her vain attempt to identify "Una Bellina" with a heroine 
of The Faerie Queene; the passage is "Hal Kilbride v Una 
BelHna" {SJ^)^ although she placed "Hal" quite correctly as 
Henry viii, she apparently could not see the reference to 
Anne Boleyn. 

On the other hand, sometimes a reference looks too easy 
to be true: that there are three soldiers does not prove that 


Kipling's Soldiers Three is a source. When the Three are 
referred to as ''Oxthevious, Lapidous and Malthouse An- 
themy" {^yi)^ they do have the same initials as Kipling's 
Ortheris, Learoyd and Mulvaney, but is this enough? Is 
"Orther" (sio) a reference to Ortheris as well as 'order" 
and all the Arthurs? I simply don't know. 

Finally, there is one gift which Mrs. Glasheen and all 
Joyceans will agree with me in calling essential to any com- 
mentator on the Wake — luck! For example, when trying to 
identify "yateman" {22^)^ which I hoped was a reference to 
one of the authors of 1066 and All That as well as to jede- 
mann (''everyman"), I came across the following book title 
in the New York Public Library catalogue: The Shemetic 
[sic] Origin of the Nations of Western Europe and More 
Especially of the English, French and Irish Branches of the 
Gaelic Race, by John Pym Yeatman (London, 1879). I 
would have to read this obviously preposterous book to dis- 
cover whether Joyce in fact used it, but even to know of it 
makes me feel lucky. If John Pym Yeatman is not men- 
tioned in Finnegans Wake, he certainly deserves to be. 


The title of this article translates a Gaelic phrase implying 
the loneliness of Ossian, the only survivor of Finn and his 
warriors, or, sometimes, as here, one who lags behind after the 
great have passed on. 


Circling the Square: 



J O Y C E' S propensity for design is spectacularly demon- 
strated by the 'Tlan" of Ulysses. But those careful categories, 
although they outline thematic patterns of the texture, are 
hardly elements of structure in a strict use of the word: 
structure as the basic formal organization that both shapes 
the whole and governs the interrelations of the parts. A truly 
structural plan would dictate the total form and control more 
firmly the order and relationship of its components; the 
"Plan" resembles an interior decorator's scheme rather than 
an architect's blueprint. 

Whatever the internal structure of Ulysses as an independ- 
ent entity, however, the book is a major structural element of 
a larger whole, a tetralogy comprising the Portrait, Ulysses, 
Exiles and Finnegans Wake. The structure of the last book 
recapitulates the total design, and throughout Finnegans 
Wake the structure is reproduced in every gradation of scale. 
It reappears epitomized in a phrase, it is repeated in passages 
many pages long, and it governs the internal form and or- 
ganization of the main divisions of the book. Under the 

RUTH VON PHUL, a housewife and a grandmother, has published 
extensively on Joyce's Wake in The James Joyce Review, earlier 
miscellanies, and elsewhere. Now living in Europe, Mrs. Von 
Phul has completed a study of Joyce to be called The Individual 



dense texture other designs may have been imposed on the 
first, single, rather simple form which concerns us here. 
The form is clear enough once we recognize its presence, and 
since it comprehends the tetralogy we may regard it as the 
figure in Joyce's carpet. We can best assure ourselves that it 
exists by analyzing Finnegans Wake. 

As everyone knows, Finnegans Wake has four major parts 
and is circular, since the incomplete final sentence serves as 
the beginning of the sentence that opens the book. The 
tetralogy has the same cyclic motion, for the last page of 
Finnegans Wake links architectonically with the first of the 
Portrait. We cannot take hterally Joyce's remark that Fin- 
negans Wake, being circular, unlike Ulysses has neither 
beginning nor end and may be read in any order. At certain 
levels this is simply not true. The dream of Finnegans Wake 
conforms in many ways to real dreams which lack a true 
chronology yet have a sort of timetable of their own. Al- 
though this dream embraces the cosmos and reaches beyond 
the limits of the temporal, it takes place in a single night 
that wears away toward dawn like any other. The dreamer, 
Jerry Earwicker, sleeps during his father's wake. In the 
earlier parts of the book we hear tinkling glasses raised in 
jovial celebration of the folk rite belowstairs; as the hours 
pass, these sounds are succeeded by the rattle of the day's 
first tram, by cockcrows, and an early broadcast foretelling 
the weather of the dawning day, while into the hungry 
sleeper's dream creep allusions to breakfast. Like everything 
else in the book these realistic details carry a full symbolic 
cargo, but they are concrete indications of actual clock time 
as well. 

The numerous allusions to Vico should not beguile us 
into yet one more fruitless attempt to impose a four-part 
Viconian cycle. This is an older, more familar cycle, the 
immemorial, ever-new round of birth, marriage, death and 
rebirth. We cannot always delimit the stages precisely, for 
life is a continuum, not a series of disconnected episodes, 

Circling the Square 241 

and in each stage the seeds of the future are germinating. Nor 
can we apply the labels with rigorous literalness. Birth com- 
prises heredity, early environment and nurture — it connotes 
preparation for life. Marriage too has a comprehensive sig- 
nificance; it denotes the period of creativity and connotes a 
certain participation in the whole society. When a youth 
becomes a man he incurs as the price of his creativity a two- 
fold obligation to carry on the work of creation, through his 
work and by establishing a new family. As paterfamilias and 
as worker, he must relate himself to other human beings. 
Death likewise must be liberally interpreted. There are more 
deaths than mere stoppage of breath: inertia, impotence, 
materialism, all are types of death. 

In Joyce's most penetrating epiphanic illuminations he 
always sees that the things above are as the things below. 
For Joyce nothing was too abstract or too holy to allegorize 
in terms of his own self and his own life. These are the often 
very earthy foundations that support his topless towers as 
they soar toward the sky. Allegorical, anagogical and aesthetic 
exigencies sometimes compel him to adjust objective fact, 
but these tamperings are minor and touch only accidentals. 
They do not detract from but enrich the poetic truth of the 
long autobiography that depicts faithfully enough the ac- 
tualities of his world and treats its spiritual and emotional 
realities with the utmost veracity. Sometimes lucidly, more 
often obliquely, he sets forth his life as it seemed to him. 
This highly subjective autobiography is the formal determi- 
nant of the tetralogy. 

Since by definition the four-part cycle is the paradigm of 
all lives it may seem an exercise in futility to demonstrate 
how Joyce's life conforms to the universal norm. And so it 
would be if that were the end in view. We must synopsize 
his life story and recognize its various stages to discern its 
structural function. Moreover, the transmuted autobiography 
was virtually suspended with Exiles and the beginning of 
Joyce's fourth decade. It is retold in Fimiegans Wake and 


brought up to date but the new material, hke the refurbished 
famihar tale, is set down in hieroglyphics. The "actual" life 
and the fictional account — projected by some bold guesses 
— are the legible inscriptions of the Rosetta stone that will 
enable us to decipher the final revelations. 

The synoptic biography that follows is admittedly syn- 
thetic; it combines facts of Joyce's actual life with subjective 
data from the life stories of his fictional selves: Stephen 
Dedalus, Richard Rowan, and others. As historical method 
this is absurd, but taken as literary research into literary 
sources it is an enterprise of impeccable orthodoxy. Any 
singularity lies in the fact that the chief sources of Joyce's 
last work must be sought in his earlier books, and in his hfe. 

The hfe story falls into six phases which, when we come 
to fit them into the four-part cycle, will group themselves in 
more than one way. 

Childhood: birth to puberty. The child is an obedient, 
docile son and pupil. He practices his religion as a matter of 
habit with no more emotion and little more thought than 
he gives to tying his shoes. The Oedipus complex has its 
inception in infancy and then becomes latent, but from the 
age of six the child is cloudily aware of sex. He is learning 
other things: that the quarrelsome Irish invariably betray 
their saviors; that words are magical; that the Church has 
reprehensible spokesmen: the formidable Dante, the brutal, 
unjust Father Dolan. The phase is reflected in 'The Sisters," 
"An Encounter," "Araby," and the first eighty pages of the 
Portrait. The voyage to Cork in the Portrait is the rite of 
passage to the next phase. 

Puberty: In Cork the boy steps into his father's world. 
Here he recognizes his father's weaknesses, and seeing 
"Foetus" carved on a desk in his father's old school, is shaken 
by a tumult of sexual feeling and shame: He has entered the 
arena where, as in infancy, he will be his father's rival. In 

Circling the Square 243 

this period, Freud says, the Oedipus complex emerges from 
latency. Sexual and religious conflicts tear the boy. He is 
captivated, although hardly enslaved, by a * nice" girl; like 
her predecessor Eileen, she is the type of maiden he is 
doomed to woo in vain. Such girls, in his mother's pattern, 
do not return his affection, much less requite it with the free 
surrender of body and soul which he longs for. Intolerable 
craving drives him to whores, to dreams of yielding love 
goddesses and to masturbation, a symbol of the sterile nar- 
cissism of introversion and withdrawal.^ In his intellectual 
positions, puerile though they may be, the youth is increas- 
ingly isolated. This phase is shown in Stephen Hero and the 
Portrait. At the end of the latter, Stephen is alienated from 
his world; saying a perfunctory "so be it" to his mother's 
prayer that he may learn what the heart is and feels — i.e. 
caritas — the young escapist is poised for his Icarian flight to 
"life" and Paris. 

Adolescence (the word is used here to indicate only the 
final phase preceding manhood): The Paris sojourn com- 
bined physical malnutrition (which Joyce later blamed as an 
antecedent cause of his blindness) with mental forced feed- 
ing. Like many another tripper Stephen returned home un- 
appeased yet gorged and bilious. But somatic or psychic, the 
maladies incubated in Paris are not the cause of Stephen's 
plight after his mother's death. All his dissipation with 
cronies cannot mask his total alienation nor the apathy that 
adds acedia to the other mortal sins he so joylessly commits. 
Remorse and grief are exacerbated by an Oedipal neurosis 
which now manifests itself in a classically Freudian syn- 
drome: anxiety terrorizes him and paralyzes his will in vac- 
illating indecision, while the scales of bisexuality tip toward 
overt homosexuality. Before noon on that fateful June 16th 
Stephen makes one attempt to cut the umbilical cord that 
shackles him to a ghost. Leaving the Martello tower he leaves 
the "Omphalos" and turns from the perilous path of inver- 


sion. But only after Ulysses closes will Stephen discover that 
his complex is resolved and that, initiated into manhood, he 
is free — to love, to practise his art. Joyce shows clearly that 
Bloom is savior and liberator, but only hints that he will not 
be unaided in exorcising the baneful spell. He leads Stephen 
into manhood and back to mankind, and, almost as impor- 
tant for the nascent artist, opens his eyes to a new vision of 
the phenomenal world he has disdained. But Molly, who 
plans to garnish her spare room — Calypso's cave — for the 
eagerly awaited guest, will offer him more than cocoa to 
break his emotional fast. She will bring him eggs, the very 
symbol of new life, and by her joyous, undemanding gift 
of her body this somewhat maternal love goddess will be the 
bridge over which Stephen can carry his reawakened power 
to love from his dead mother to the still unknown beloved. 
Both characters may be chiefly fictional (although Molly is 
certainly in part Nora Barnacle as Bloom is partly Joyce 
himself) but they live in truth. They are Joyce's supreme 
creations, incarnate vessels of the spirit that breathed new 
life into him in midsummer of 1904. 

Young Manhood: For a decade — 1904 to 1914 — Joyce 
seems to have struggled to achieve emotional equilibrium as 
a man while he labored to perfect himself as an artist. He 
had resumed close personal relationships, but they were 
stormy. His brother Stanislaus was (Frank Budgen excepted) 
his most trustworthy friend, the confidant who best under- 
stood him, yet Joyce irritably condescended to him while 
exploiting him mercilessly. All bonds chafed Joyce, and his 
emotional dependence on Nora seems to have been almost 
intolerably galling; this combined with his inveterate dis- 
trust of women and his distrust of himself — as man, never 
as artist — to make him vulnerable to a recurrent, lacerating 
jealousy. Richard Rowan's tawdry infidehties and gratuitous, 
agonizing confessions to Bertha are probably based on fact. 
Ostensibly Rowan's compulsion to confess — so like Joyce's 
— serves his masochism, but it is the scourge with which he 

Circling the Square 245 

sadistically flagellates Bertha, who is without question mod- 
eled on Nora. In spite of squalor, quarrels and drunkenness, 
Joyce in this decade, drudging at teaching and writing only 
in his spare time, was truly creative. He begot children and 
he created art, though the work of the period — several 
Dubliners tales. Exiles (not completed until the next phase) 
and the Portrait — is not yet equal to what he would achieve. 
The period is reflected in "A Little Cloud," "The Dead," 
perhaps in some details of the Blooms' early married life, 
and Exiles. Writing the play seems to have been an unex- 
pected compulsion that delayed completion of the Portrait 
and the long anticipated start of the work on Ulysses. We 
may well deprecate this unsuccessful closet drama,^ but it 
seems to have made possible the serene affirmations of Ulys- 
ses; Joyce appears to have purged himself in Exiles of bile 
that embittered his relationship with Nora. The play is set 
in Dublin in 1912; the situation is in part identical with the 
Joyces', whose return to Ireland in that year may have inten- 
sified, and eventually resolved, certain tensions between them. 
The causes appear to have been jealousies old and new; dead 
lovers and fiving suitors were potential rivals but so, we may 
surmise, was Ireland, always alluring, always treacherous. Ap- 
parently Joyce resented Nora's embarrassment in coming 
home as his wife only by courtesy; possibly he suspected her 
of a reluctance to return to exile. To regularize her status by 
marriage, to conform and remain in Ireland, would be for 
Joyce impossible concessions, but to refuse them could only 
fan his ever smouldering guilt, against which, as always, he 
would shield himself in a martyr's robe. If some such emo- 
tional crisis existed, it coincided with the destruction of 
DublinerSy a disaster that gave focus to Joyce's chronic, free- 
floating expectation of treachery and rationalized his eternal 
sense of martyrdom. 

Maturity: From approximately 1914 to 1921, Joyce fully 
mastered his art. Exiles is no testimony to his ripeness; it is 
a bit of left-over business, green fruit of emotion recollected 


not in tranquillity and set down prematurely. But Ulysses 
is a masterpiece, as he himself knew. Finnegans Wake shows 
him as Solness, fearful he cannot again scale the pinnacle 
he conquered in his prime. His portrayal of Bloom, his affec- 
tionate depiction of Molly, and — perhaps more significant 
— the compassion he exhibits toward all the other women 
in Ulysses suggest he had reached a sunny upland, an era of 
good feeling toward human beings, even those of the opposite 
sex. With Nora he perhaps felt an old-shoe easiness, for in 
these years he yearned rather absurdly for two unattainable 
younger women. These fruitless hankerings seem less a throw- 
back to his mooncalf days than a premature onset of the 
Schwaermerei of impotent senility. These girls lend attributes 
to such diverse images of sterile frustration as Gerty Mac- 
Dowell, Martha Clifford, and Beatrice Justice of Exiles; the 
Stella and Vanessa of Finnegans Wake also derive from 
them. Bloom's sexual predicament perhaps resembles Joyce's. 
But otherwise, except for a few of the Pomes Fenyeach, this 
period is for the most part an interim of silence that, like the 
entire phase to follow, is not reflected in Joyce's work until 
Finnegans Wake. 

Decline: The publication of Ulysses brought full recog- 
nition and fame to Joyce at forty, after twenty years as a 
writer. The book was controversial, but fortissimo paeans 
from fellow artists, from critics and the reading public, al- 
most drowned out the discords of dissent. Yet Joyce's ears 
were hypersensitive to Irish voices, and out of Ireland arose 
a cacophony of dispraise and gasps of jealous incredulity from 
the old Dublin circle who understood nothing in the book 
but the most obvious local allusions and, of course, the 
obscenity. As bewildering as the work itself was its reception; 
how could their old crony's unintelligible scribblings (chari- 
tably deplored as the ravings of insanity or grinned at as a 
practised japer's gigantic hoax) ^ so take in the rest of the 
English reading world? But without question, Joyce had ar- 

Circling the Square 247 

rived, and a few well-wishers were distressed by his enthusias- 
tic acting of the role of arriviste. He became something of 
a dandy and spent much time and too much money in 
restaurants de luxe, with a drunken seaman's disregard for 
his actual means; Ulysses^ banned in England and the United 
States, was not the bonanza he thought it. This was a natural 
reaction from the long, lean years; it may also have been a bit 
of ostentatious nose-thumbing toward Dublin, conspicuous 
consumption to impress an insular coterie with the well-being 
of the prodigal son and the chic of his "companion." But 
the son was still far from home, although after years in the 
wilderness he had conquered the intellectuals' promised land 
and for literate sightseers in Paris was himself a three-starred 
object of interest. He was a prophet honored only in exile, 
and the fine sauces of the fleshpots could not disguise the 
flavor of husks. Finnegans Wake reveals much self-criticism 
of the excesses of the period, and a disquieted awareness that 
though effete luxury is a cliche, it is truth that creates a 

At many points Finnegans Wake discloses a bitter resent- 
ment of women: They are mercenary, and worse, they are 
venally treacherous. This seems to reflect Joyce's feehngs 
midway through the writing. Both in anticipation and retro- 
spect the marriage ceremony undertaken in 1931 was appar- 
ently a source of rancor; to substitute a golden fetter for the 
impalpable bond of the long union seemed betrayal. A few 
months after the marriage Harriet Weaver thought Joyce 
notably irritable; two years afterward Frank Budgen was sur- 
prised to hear Joyce for the first time speak bitterly of women, 
decrying their dominating invasiveness and disavowing any 
further interest in their bodies. Another grievance that began 
to rankle much earher is also suggested in Finnegans Wake: 
Woman is self-pityingly nostalgic, always repining for a lost 
lover who is an embodiment of the ardor her mate no longer 
manifests. Like Bertha in Exiles, she laments always the 
"strange, wild lover" to whom she gave herself in youth. 


"What is the time?" is a dreadfully important question in 
Finnegans Wake. Every calendar, every clock, reminds a man 
in the declining years that his days are numbered but eter- 
nity is endless. He cannot disregard the memento m.ori 
offered him by bodily aches, much less the pangs of spiritual 
malaise. In the 'Twenties Jung was the latest of the age-old 
succession of mentors who admonish that in the latter half 
of life a man must re-examine himself and his values, rec- 
oncile his conflicts, discover the meaning of life, fix his 
relationship with the cosmos. Joyce had spent his adult hfe 
doing just this, but now there is a sense of urgency. More- 
over, many allusions suggest concern lest his inveterate retro- 
spection, his habitual preemption of the protagonist's role 
(and his predilection for doubling in the subsidiary parts 
too) might dry up the wells of inspiration and leave him 
epicene like the Four Old Men, garrulously ''rememboring" 
their pasts. But his daimon would not let him rest until the 
grand design was complete, nor were his goals aesthetic only. 
He sought to set his spiritual house in order by an ultimate 
and mature examen of conscience. Since the technique re- 
quired retrospection and introspection, the very scalpels and 
probes of dynamic psychology, perhaps the process might 
prove therapeutic and repair, if it could not renovate, the 
psyche's fleshly abode. 

Jung's description of types must have struck home to Joyce. 
The arrogant "godlike" intellectual is young Stephen exactly, 
but (unlike Joyce's more recondite borrowings from Freud) 
nothing in Stephen's introvert posturings are beyond what 
the artist's own perspicacity might have shown him. But 
Finnegans Wake suggests that Joyce heeded Jung's warning 
to the man who has achieved prestige: the threat of regressive 
dissolution in the collective psyche as it represses the true 
individuality in "sociality" and adherence to community 
standards. Joyce, rebel against Irish norms, seems aghast at 
his conformity to the antithetical but also stultifying stand- 
ards of Paris. Seeking to make reparation to the abused 

Circling the Square 249 

psyche, the ignored Anima, the dreamer can never disguise 
from himself the pristine significance of these terms, nor 
from what "art" the psychologists had borrowed them. 

Thus in this last phase the dreamer sees himself as a dead 
soul, or moribund in physical and artistic effeteness. Yet 
while he breathes he must struggle on, hoping for rebirth. 
To accept this as ''death" makes it child's play to group the 
earlier phases. The phases from childhood through adoles- 
cence are the stage of preparation: ''Birth." Young Manhood 
and Maturity, the period of fruitfulness, are "Marriage." To 
use "Marriage" as a label merely for sexual expression, ignor- 
ing the creative connotations, we must either blur the hne 
just drawn between "Birth" and "Marriage" or set it back 
to encompass the sexuaHty of puberty and adolescence. But 
the puerile experiments, sterile and diffuse, are only love play, 
a rehearsal before the rite of passage to manhood. Joyce 
himself, however, often breaks through the demarcation at 
the other side of "Marriage," where it is contiguous with 
death. For to him woman is always equivocal, a divinity of 
death as well as of love, birth and rebirth. Her dirges modu- 
late into lullabies, but any epithalamium is a Liebestod. The 
domesticated Muse becomes a hen, the nymph a crone. He 
who thinks he has conquered the goddess finds himself vic- 
tim, not victor; he has incurred the penalties suffered by 
Oedipus, Osiris or Adonis: blindness, castration, dismember- 
ment, death. 

This grouping of the life phases necessarily omits "Re- 
birth." Joyce seems to have hoped that the publication of 
Finnegans Wake, nearly twenty years after Ulysses, would 
prove him as indestructible and dazzling as a phoenix. 
Whether he believed in the survival of personahty is unclear, 
but he seems never to have lost faith in some form of resur- 
rection, perhaps a sort of metempsychosis in which he would 
return not in his proper personality but as a type: the hero- 
artist-martyr. So he would be subsumed in artists yet unborn 
like Shakespeare in the young Stephen. Yet there are reasons 


to think that, if he did not expect, he hoped for personal sur- 
vival, and desperately feared extinction, if not eternal tor- 

But Joyce's wheels always contain other wheels. Re- 
examined, the cycle proves to be dual, comprising one com- 
plete cycle and three parts of the next. In this grouping, 
childhood, when heredity and environment mold the still 
plastic boy, is *'Birth." Puberty and early adolescence, in 
which the youth first experiences sex and first essays creative 
writing, are a feeble paradigm of ''Marriage." But the adoles- 
cent, fallen Icarus is a walking corpse; Stephen in Ulysses 
is Joyce in the first ''Death" stage. Hence the plan of Ulysses 
assigns no organs to the "Telemachiad," the three sections 
that are peculiarly Stephen's; what need has a cadaver of 
organs? In early manhood he is reborn, although his resur- 
rection came between the acts, or books, as it were. This 
"Rebirth" is a stage of gestation leading to "Birth" in a new 
cycle. Joyce has learned to say "yes" to life, but as man and 
artist he is still nascent; the conflicts with his brother and 
with Nora, his struggles to write, are the birthpangs he 
suffers now. In "Maturity," Joyce is in the second "Marriage" 
stage, having reached a summit of his art and, presumably, 
enjoying halcyon days emotionally. The "Death" period of 
the second minor cycle of course coincides with that of the 
larger one when Joyce and his dreamer, latest of all his 
surrogates, confront death in its grimmest, most literal sig- 
nificance. The reduplicated life cycle explains the bicycle 
trope that recurs throughout Finnegans Wake. 

To study the structural use of the life cycle in Finnegans 
Wake we can most conveniently begin with Book iii, which 
Joyce called "The Four Watches of Shaun." He explicated 
it as "a description of a postman travelling backward in the 
night through the events already narrated. It is written in 
the form of a via crucis of 14 stations" (L 21/^).'^ The events 
are those of Joyce's life, touched on allusively and cryptically 
in the first two books of Finnegans Wake and related clearly 

Circling the Square 251 

enough, if not completely, in the earlier works of the te- 
tralogy. It seems paradoxical that to Shem, his acknowledged 
surrogate, Joyce devoted only one of seventeen sections while 
Shaun, his antithesis, is the protagonist of a whole book of 
four sections. The paradox resolves itself as we study the 
vigils of Shaun and discover that once more the wily Joyce 
has misdirected those to whom he offered guidance. 

Shaun the Post combines the antagonists and foils of all 
Joyce's books, and their originals, brought up to date. He is 
Maurice Dedalus and Cranly, Mulligan and Robert Hand, 
but he is far more. He is the bosom enemy, the inner adver- 
sary, the alter ego whom the dreamer repudiates, again and 
again, as he struggles to realize his true — or chosen — Ego. 
Once more Joyce shows us his possible selves, the Joyces who 
might have been if he had followed other paths. The choices 
made along the way were not easy; his antitheses turned their 
steps toward inviting vistas that often tempted Joyce. But 
each time the choice was made the ''other" and the self 
parted company. Via crucis is a pun that plays on these part- 
ings of the ways. It is the road on which the perpetual martyr, 
Shem-Joyce, struggled to the consummation of his ''cruel- 
fiction" {FW 192); it shows us the crucial choices he made 
on the way to becoming a man and an artist. 

At many points the text shows us the via crucis is a way 
of crossroads. In his working notes Joyce designated char- 
acters and themes of the book by a sort of shorthand. Shaun's 
sing is A,^ a lambda that diagrammatically represents the 
postman's sturdy legs. This lambda is included among the 
signs for the "Doodles Family" (FW 299), which also in- 
cludes X, a St. Andrew's cross, but that sign of martyrdom 
is described in an apparent gloss as "a multiplication mark- 
ing for crossroads ahead" {FW 119). Various allusions 
equate Shaun with gods of the crossroads, Mercur)', or 
Hermes with his votive pillars (cf. the postman's pillar 
boxes) at the crossroads. Joyce remarked that iii 4 must 
"be about roads, all about dawn and roads" (L 2p). Yet 


few such allusions appear in the section, which is chiefly set 
in the stuffy indoor atmosphere of the family's bedchambers; 
when twice we glimpse the outdoors it is to see the Con- 
stable at a standstill, not patrolling the roads. Yet in this 
section Shem and Shaun are children in the dawn of life, 
and the parents' bed where they were begotten and born is 
the carrefour (''carryfour," FW ^81) whence all their roads 
set out. The bed is also the point of departure for a way of 
the cross in the religious sense, for the parents are Adam and 
Eve, reenacting the felix culpa that is the first step to Cal- 
vary and redemption. And here the child Jerry-Shem, gazing 
on his father's nakedness, is Ham, a figure for Adam; with 
his brother, witnessing the parents' intercourse, he com- 
pounds the unfilial offense. In Freud's earlier writings he 
insisted that such infantile voyeurism was an inevitable and 
weighty factor in Oedipal neuroses. Whether it is merely a 
figure for workaday cruxes to be traversed, or interpreted re- 
ligiously or psychologically, the child sets forth from the 
womb on a via crucis. 

Let us consider the regressive journey of Shaun in the order 
in which Joyce presents it. 

Ill 1: The time is contemporary; the dreamer, Jerry-Shem, 
is the illustrious author of Ulysses, with Finnegans Wake as 
his dreamwork in progress. He beholds Shaun the Post who 
carries in his bag a letter that is Joyce's work. The Postman, 
a mock messiah, has assumed the Christ role that Stephen 
Dedalus once took on himself. He complains of fatigue, but 
seems strikingly euphoric and prosperous; he is extraordi- 
narily dressy for a letter carrier, and regales himself with an 
almost uninterrupted succession of tremendous meat meals. 
Both here and in the following section he constantly runs 
the gamut. Shaun does not recognize his ''celebrAted" 
brother {FW ^21) in the dreamer who humbly asks if the 
Postman can read the letter he carries. Shaun's reply reveals 
his jealousy of the author's renown, and his baffled chagrin 

Circling the Square 253 

that such obscene trash should be so praised. The work, he 
says, was partly his, and if he chose he could write as well 
He recites the fable of the Gracehoper and the Ondt; he 
himself is the thrifty Ondt, having piled up treasures both 
on earth and in a Mohammedan paradise. In a little after- 
song he acknowledges that the antithetical insects are neces- 
sary complements, but at the end of the section, he violently 
denounces Shem and takes off, apparently for America. 

Here ''the voce of Shaun, vote of the Irish" {FW ^oy) 
speaks for Joyce's Irish critics. (The "voice of the Irish," 
heard in a dream, summoned St. Patrick back to Ireland.) 
Shaun, admittedly modeled in part on John McCormack, 
represents a Joyce who might have been if at Nora's behest 
he had followed a singer's lucrative career. This would have 
betrayed his true talent as, Joyce hints, McCormack betrayed 
his by catering to the mass public's taste with shoddy pro- 
grams. But Shaun is also modeled on Oliver St. John Go- 
garty. Mulligan grown older, and on the middle-aged J. F. 
Byrne, the original of Cranly. A naturalized American, 
Byrne, in letters and during a personal visit to Joyce in Paris, 
revealed a total misapprehension of Joyce's work, and com- 
plained that in the Portrait Joyce appropriated and distorted 
one of his anecdotes. Shaun's most violent invectives echo 
Cranly's, and in Cranly's very tones he parodies the warning 
Cranly once gave Stephen: Even though he no longer be- 
lieves in the Church, he risks eternal damnation by refusing 
to practise its observances.^ 

In this section, all those whom the Postman speaks for 
are dead. Joyce's external antagonists are dead souls; the 
might-have-been Joyces are his own dead selves. And there 
is another reason to assign iii 1 to the "Death" stage. Shaun 
is ostensibly Joyce's polar antithesis, but at many points he 
embodies Joyce's present self-disgust. His fine apparel, as 
inappropriate for a man of letters as for a letter carrier, links 
him to the dandified Joyce. Complaining he is fated to be 
a nomad, Shaun is the restless, rootless Joyce who in pros- 

254 "^^^ PHUL 

perity changed his abode almost as often as in penury when, 
hke his father before him, he seemed always to be evading 
an unpaid landlord. Reminding Shem of Cranly's un- 
forgotten warning, admonishing the prodigal by means of 
a fable, Shaun embodies the dreamer's own misgiving; Joyce 
caricatures his present materialism in Shaun at his greediest. 
Shem's way is not through the gate St. Peter guards, yet 
he has never relinquished hope for the grace of salvation. 
But the hour is late, he may have chosen the wrong turn, 
and the single theological virtue he claims may be not hope 
but delusion. The Gracehoper shudders not from literal cold 
and starvation but because an icy terror haunts him. Even 
a sizzling beefsteak, "a lugly whizzling tournedos" (an al- 
lusion to the indifferent deity; here it is Lug, the Gaelic sun 
god, whistling with his back turned) evokes a spectre: 
it is "an irritant, penetrant . . . spuk. Grausssssss! Opr!" 
{FW ^16-1 J. Spuk is a spectre; GrausSy horror. Opr is per- 
haps OpfeTy a sacrifice.) No cafe can shelter him from the 
dread the gate may be locked; always he hears the chill wind 
''ruching sleets off the coppeehouses" {rutschen is to shde; 
schliessen to shut, to lock; the house is Francois Coppee's — 
an apostate who late in life returned to the Catholic fold). 

Ill 2: Here we are taken back to 1904-12, to the second 
"Birth" into manhood, and the early years with Nora. Shaun 
is now Jaun: a compound of Don Juan and jaune. Yellow 
is the color of gold and glory, and of the papacy; it is also 
Judas', the emblem of jealousy and venal betrayal.'^ As 
Shaun's jealous envy dominated the last section, Jaun's 
sexual jealousy dominates this. Still singing, still a pseudo 
savior, Jaun now resembles St. Patrick returning to convert 
the pagan Irish and transform their lovely Muse goddess 
Bride into a Christian saint. Jaun meets his sister Issy with 
her twenty-eight schoolmates. The girls fondle the "lady- 
killer" (FW ^^o) and he preaches them a sermon borrowed 
from Father Mike, "bishop titular of Dubloonik" (FW 432). 

Circling the Square 255 

Celibacy ill suits the priest; he is both ''nuncupiscent" and 
beset by homosexual urges. The homily advocates chastity 
but the sexual motivations of both Shaun and his bishop are 
obvious. The prurient preacher is jealous of the girls' suitors, 
and threatens with violent chastisement any maiden who 
responds to a wooer; to Jaun these threats are promises of 
sadistic delight. Confessing that he would prefer to remain 
in Ireland if he could be guided by the one True Church and 
the Virgin who is its type — *'Mona Vera Toutou Ipostila, 
my lady of Lyons" (FW 449) —Jaun sadly prepares for 
exile^ promising to return. Issy becomes Veronica and bids 
her brother farewell, although she seems curiously confused 
as to his identity, mixing Shem's appellations with Shaun's.^ 
She cheerfully anticipates material and sexual gratification 
without him, and reveals her readiness to "betrue" him with 
another whom she will ''betreu" (betreuen, attend to, FW 
459). Jaun becomes Jaunathan and welcomes Shem, as 
David, back from continental exile. In a passage of egregious 
lewdness he offers for David's sexual delectation — while 
deploring David's lack of enterprise — ''me aunt Juha Bride" 
who has ''plenty of woom in the smallclothes for the boths- 
forus" {FW ^6^; this is the Station of the Cross in which 
Christ meets his Mother, as well as his subsequent com- 
mendation of her to John's care at the cross). 

In 1904 Joyce left in Dublin a circle of malcontents who 
vocally rebelled against the British Imperium or the Roman 
Church, or both, and derided the mores imposed by these 
ahen institutions. He returned in 1912 to find the impudent 
tongues prudently stilled and their owners occupying com- 
fortable niches in the established order. George Roberts was 
manager for the potential publishers of Dubliners; Joyce 
blamed him for the destruction of the book but it is not 
clear whether he was the false friend whom Joyce later ac- 
cused of having betrayed him at that time (L 311). No 
published data suggest that a conformist friend had, like 
Robert Hand in Exiles^ urged on Joyce a conformity that 


would make residence in Ireland comfortable and nominated 
him for a post that would make it economically feasible, 
while slyly undercutting his candidacy (and perhaps wooing 
Nora at the same time). But the Julia Bride episode echoes 
Hand's councils of expedience, and in context with Exiles 
offers circumstantial evidence that in 1912 some such temp- 
tations were set before the Joyces. Gogarty may be impli- 
cated; Jaunathan at this point long since was recognized as 
a caricature of him and, equating the Mother of Christ with 
the pseudo Christ's aunt, Jaunathan is like Mulhgan, who 
by subservient assiduity to his rich aunt virtually substituted 
her for his mother. Like all Joyce's ''brides," Julia is venal; 
like the Henry James character whose name she bears she 
is a slightly tarnished virgin on whose behalf a coarse 
quondam suitor inveigles a more eligible parti. She is both 
Ireland and Irish Christianity, corrupted by the dual hegem- 
ony. Her name of Juha denominates the Roman imperial 
gens, while Bride is the indigenous goddess transmogrified 
into a saint. Between her thighs she can accommodate the 
Bosphorus, which in the plan for Ulysses flowed between 
the European shore — the British State — and the Asiatic 
shore — the Roman Church. Goading David to ravish her, 
Jaunathan urges him to follow his cynical example and ex- 
ploit Ireland and the Church. 

But this section also mirrors the literal sexual conflicts of 
Exiles. Joyce's working notes for the play suggest that he 
was unaware how sadistically Rowan, the embodiment of his 
own admitted masochism, manifests the jealous possessive- 
ness that he tediously disclaims throughout three acts. In 
the Exiles notebook Joyce smugly, almost triumphantly, 
records that Nora denounced him as a 'Voman-killer" 
(E 118); in Finnegans Wake it is Jaun who is derided as 
a ladykiller. At the period of Exiles, Joyce indulged himself, 
as his private Giacomo Joyce notebook reveals, in an un- 
conscionably cruel Don Giovannism; he gloated over his 
deliberate emotional — although uncarnal — seduction of a 

Circling the Square 257 

young pupil. In Exiles he was probably entirely conscious of 
splitting his masochism and his concomitant but unacknowl- 
edged sadism between the rivals for Bertha, who is frankly 
Nora; he was certainly aware of the homosexuality latent in 
Rowan's confessedly ''ignoble" hope for vicarious gratifica- 
tion by an affair between Bertha and Hand. (The same 
motivations underhe Bloom's plans to bring Stephen and 
Molly together, but they are combined with an altruism 
that seems utterly beyond Rowan's capacity.) Just before 
the 1912 sojourn in Ireland, Joyce had encouraged Nora, up 
to a point, in accepting the attentions of Robert Prezioso, 
a somewhat effeminate Triestine editor whose Christian 
name and profession he bestowed on Hand (Prezioso's 
patronymic appears in the Exiles notebook). Thus iii 2 
shows us as in a distorting mirror the emotional situation 
of the play which itself seems to reflect actual crises that 
came to a head in 1912. Father Mike and the preaching 
Jaun are less timebound; they exempHfy demonstratively the 
generalized observation that Irish inhibitions, like clerical 
celibacy, lead to homosexuality and sadism. But Joyce does 
not indict only his own obvious antitheses. He reproaches 
himself for similar aberrations: jealous possessiveness, sad- 
ism, latent homosexuality. And though Issy, unable to dis- 
tinguish between her brothers, acts out Nora's inability to 
see Joyce as different from any other man — a lack of dis- 
crimination for which he reproached her — she is not totally 
blind and confused; in her view, as in the dreamer's, the 
antitheses are after all identical. 

At the end of Exiles Hand, rather surprisingly, plans to 
go into exile; thus Joyce symbolically banishes another un- 
worthy alter ego. Here Jaun departs under the name Haun, 
i.e. Hand (vd. Webster s). But a careful reading leaves us 
uncertain whether it is Shaun or Shem who departs; they 
have merged once more, and the fleeing Haun seems to 
comprise Joyce in his final return to exile; he is urged to 
"work your progress" {FW 4y^); this Joyce is now doing, 


as writer and as dreamer. Yet a strong admixture of Mul- 
ligan remains, and we are reminded that Gogarty too finally 
exiled himself to the United States. The Postman, pseudo 
Christ and type of Mercury, takes off in a high wind, like 
''mercurial Malachi" Mulligan who, with his ''Mercury's 
hat quivering in the fresh wind" (U 21), in conscious 
blasphemy impersonated Joking Jesus saying goodbye on 
breezy Olivet. This section, with all its echoes of the tumult 
and strife of early manhood, must be assigned to the second 

— "Marriage" — stage of the major life cycle.® 

Ill 3: Shaun is now Yawn, a similacrum of an effeminate, 
perversely tempting, cherubic boy. The Old Men discover 
him lying so inert that they plan an inquest. But Yawn is 
not dead; he merely "lay low" {FW 4^4), swooning or 
entranced, so their investigation combines a psychoanalysis 

— an in-quest — with a seance. To the squabbhng oldsters, 
alternately hectoring and bewildered. Yawn replies in many 
voices. A yearning boy vainly seeking a responsive beloved, 
he wails for his "typette," his "tactile O" (FW ^jS); a woe- 
ful Tristan, he anticipates betrayal by his Isolde, the Brina- 
bride, whom he warns in Parneirs words: "When you sell, 
get my price" {FW $00). He appeals for prayers and protec- 
tion to the "mother of my tears" (FW $00). The fraternal 
struggles of the whole book are recalled, and so is the 
wedding in the tavern, that ended in a brawl. At one point 
Yawn repudiates Kevin-Shaun as a "sinted sageness" (FW 
4S2)', at another he denounces as mad the fifty-year-old 
"Toucher 'Thom* " (FW ^^06) — Joyce, eternal doubter, 
whose Ulysses is a mosaic of references from Thom's Direc- 
tory. Yawn says his name is "Trinathan partnick dieudon- 
nay" {FW 4^8). Through his mouth we hear women's 
voices: the sister's provocative accents, and for the first time 
an extended speech by alp as Mrs. Earwicker,^'^ fiercely de- 
fending herself and her man against calumny. Oscar Wilde's 
ghost speaks, compounded with less celebrated, unidentified 

Circling the Square 259 

inverts; this dubious personage blends into hce, who closes 
the section with a long speech, at first defensive, then 
boastful, in which he speaks as Dublin. 

The Four Old Men, truculent and rather stupid, are the 
four provinces of Ireland, but these bumbling inquisitors are 
also the Four Evangelists. As such they seem to incorporate 
the irreducible residue of a Christian conscience based upon 
Christ's ethical message. For all his seeming blasphemy, 
Joyce mocks only the self-anointed messiahs, the blasphe- 
mous false prophets who wield the keys of the Ondt's 
meretricious heaven as weapons of temporal power. 

Yawn fears the Brinabride: She is venal, married to *'salt" 
— money, wages, soldiers' pay — and will prove herself *'I 
sold" (FW $00). She is also a looker-back, like Lot's wife 
a saltbride; so Yawn voices Joyce's grievances against Nora. 
But Yawn is also the youth who, despairing of winning a 
flesh and blood girl, phantasized an impossible she. Al- 
though he ostensibly invokes a typist, a dactylo, she is only 
a ''type pet," an idealized love object. In his inept 'Vila- 
nelle" Stephen offered incense to the apotheosized temptress 
who hovered over his erotic dreams; so dactylo suggests both 
the finger alphabet of the Celtic bards (who, like Stephen, 
used rigidly traditional verse forms) and hints at mastur- 
bation, a sterile union with an imagined beloved. But ''tac- 
tile O" alludes also to the youth's recourse to whores, the 
only tangible flesh accessible to him (in Finnegans Wake 
"O" is often the vulva). Oscar Wilde merges with the 
father partly because Stephen's invert companions were 
snobs sharing Simon Dedalus' notions of the good life, 
partly because the father is equally implicated with the 
mother in the etiology of the complex that underlies the 
sexual aberrations, partly because Anglo-Irish Dublin, for 
all its sightliness, corrupts its sons. 

The appeal to the mother reflects Stephen's anguish when, 
losing the Faith, he feared to lose the mediation of the 
Virgin to whom he had been so devoted; it also is a belated 



acknowledgment of the need for the human mother's 
prayer that her son should learn the ways of the heart. But 
Yawn is not without his own faith. As Trinathan partnick 
dieudonnay he now identifies himself with St. Patrick, offer- 
ing Irish idolators a pure faith, the gift of God (Nathan is 
a gift; Jonathan — the Lord has given — perhaps more nearly 
approximates Dieu donne). Yet he is part-Nick, the devil 
is still in him. In Finnegans Wake Joyce indicates more than 
once that his lifework is a thank-offering to the creative 
Spirit. The saint returning to Ireland as God's gift and bear- 
ing God's gift is the antithesis of Gottgab and Baggut (FW 
490-1 ) whose worship is lip service and the reeking sacrifice 
of Abel. Yet Joyce's surrogates are Promethean, and Prome- 
theus, as crafty as Jacob, tricked Zeus of the choice flesh for 
his burnt offering by disguising it as a bag of guts. Here 
again Joyce seems to re-examine the position he has held for 
so long: Is he Dieu donne, or after all only Baggut, one 
with the antagonists he has scorned? 

In all the babble we miss Shaun's familiar bluster, cen- 
soriousness and condescension: Byrne, Wyndham Lewis, 
Gogarty, are forgotten. The conflict now is purely interior, 
the contestants truly bosom enemies. We hear only the 
voices of Yawn's inner selves, or those of his nearest and 
dearest, that molded Ego and Super-Ego and set them at 
odds. Small wonder the Four cannot discover the true 
identity of this "regressively dissociated" Yawn. At one 
point Matthew (Ulster) himself dissociates into Loyal 
Ulster-Europe, i.e. the British Empire equated with Europe, 
and Down — also a part of Ulster — as Asia. The latter 
speaks cogently: "He is cured by faith who is sick of fate. 
The prouts who will invent a writing there ultimately is 
the poeta, still more learned, who discovered the raiding 
there originally. That's the point of eschatology our book 
of kills reaches for now in soandso counterpoint words" 
(FW 482). The poetaster who by displaying his booklearn- 
ing disclosed his hostihty (discovered his raiding — or read- 

Circling the Square 261 

ing) blends aspects of Prout — spoiled priest and Irish hu- 
morist—with those of Proust, the confirmed chronicler of 
his own past seen from a Parisian point of view; he is the 
inventor of the writing in which the polyphonic voices even 
now express the aging man's own eschatology. In his sug- 
gestions for diagnosis and therapy Matthew is truly catholic; 
he prescribes both faith and psychoanalysis. In Freudian 
jargon he observes ''affects recausing altereffects" : the pres- 
ent emotions cause a recurrence of the old {alter) symptoms 
of the patient's youth; perhaps the same religious terrors 
(altar). He advocates Freudian techniques: to twist "the 
penman's tale posterwise" — to take a posterior (retrospec- 
tive) view, and to interpret the dream by opposites. Thus 
he discovers that ''the gist is the gist of Shaum but the 
hand is the hand of Sameas" (FW ^8^ ) . He who lies here 
(gist is a place of repose or burial) seems to be Shaun-Esau, 
but appearances are illusions {Schau is show; Schaurtiy 
foam). The hand is that of Sameas, James; he is Jacob, who 
wrestled all night with God and, prevailing, received His 
blessing but never learned His name. 

It is unnecessary to point out that in this section Shaun 
is a figment; Yawn is entirely Shem: Stephen and Joyce. The 
tormented youth, closing his eyes to the phenomenal, blind 
to eternal verities, lying low in neurotic acedia, we have met 
before. But he is also the Joyce of the present, tottering at 
the edge of doom, his eyes literally darkened, his inner 
vision clouded by emotional woe and spiritual terror. Yet 
he is never so blind that he cannot view his soul sickness 
with the dual insights of theology and psychology. 

Ill 4: The dream regresses to the dreamer's early childhood. 
The parents arise from their "bed of trial" {FW ^^8) to 
comfort the Httle Jerry-Shem, who, frightened by a night- 
mare about his father, has "bespilled himself from his 
foundingpen" {FW 563). In the next bed is his twin, "bright 
bull babe Frank Kevin" {FW ^62 ) — Shaun, whose vigil we 


are ostensibly sharing; their sister hes nearby. The mother 
rebukes the father for exposing himself to the children, the 
father urgently demands his marital rights, both express 
doubt whether the children are safely asleep. At one point 
the scene is described as a pageant of medieval royalty. The 
parents return to bed and a joyful, carefree coitus; practising 
contraception, they ''never wet the tea" {FW S^S)- ^ 
eulogy praises the parents and all progenitors bowed by the 
burden of family cares. We see a boy grown older, a Tristan 
poetically wooing his sister as she urinates behind a door. 
Outside the house the Constable alternately surveys the 
landscape and the lighted chamber windows. A hissing 
catamite accosts him, calling on 'my auxy, Jimmy d'Arcy" 
{FW ^8y) and on Freddy, another homosexual, to confirm 
his tale of the suspicious interest taken in them by an elderly 
refugee who, with his "scented mouf," boasts of past great- 

In Shaun's Fourth Watch he is mentioned only when he 
is introduced as Kevin; thereafter the twins merge into one. 
The youth enraptured by the sister's "chamber music" is 
the young Joyce whose lyrics were so melodious yet emo- 
tionally so dilute. The duahty of the twins here suggests the 
artist's dual nature. Kevin-Shaun, ever striving to impose 
organization and form, is always heliotrope, an Apollonian 
child of the sun god. Jerry-Shem is hyacinth; like the flower, 
he bears the woeful imprint "ai, ai," Apollo's scarification. 
For Shem is Dionysian, suckled at the buckgoat paps of 
another father, and drawing inspiration from dark wells 
sacred to the moon. Rank's Myth of the Birth of the Hero 
probably accounts for the depiction of the family as royalty 
in an Oedipal or Hamlet-like situation. The Oedipus com- 
plex motivates the brother to seek a beloved in his mother's 
pattern as he woos his sister, "brooder's cissiest auntybride" 
(FW ^61). As prototype of the still undiscovered beloved, 
she is an ante-bride, this side (cis) of the mate to come. The 
usual defence masks the degree of consanguinity, displacing 

Circling the Square 263 

mother to aunt. There is also Irish allegory here; Issy is a 
younger Julia Bride, virgin-mother-aunt. As early as the 
Portrait Joyce symbolized by sibling incest the parochial in- 
grownness of the Irish. 

The father's person is described with strong homosexual 
overtones as the topography of Phoenix Park. This too uses 
sexual inversion and Greek myth to symbolize Irish politico- 
social realities. The father is again inculpated as a factor 
in the son's neurosis; and again the father image is the 
British regime (Phoenix Park was the site of the viceregal 
residence). The viceroy holds the sons of Ireland in the 
same sterile bondage as the fixation that paralyzed Stephen. 
The homosexual redcoats convey similar meanings, but 
while their spokesman leeringly forces on "Jininiy" shameful 
memories of his past, he compels the dreamer to even 
darker reflections on his present. Now impotent in two 
senses, he is estranged from his muse and his wife, doubly 
a widower. Incorrigibly retrospective, remembering past 
greatness (as author of Ulysses) ^ he sees himself always as 
a refugee, a ''colhdeorscape" {FW 143), a ''fuyer-escaper" 
{FW 228). Exile seemed to him escape from the intoler- 
able; was it perhaps only escapism that in the end brought 
him to Paris like the dying Oscar Wilde, a pathetic, epicene 

But impotence may be retribution for another sin, that 
Stephen Dedalus saw as truly impious: the frustration of 
procreation. These parents avoiding impregnation are very 
inadequate exemplars of creativity. One suspects that here 
as always the dreamer, identifying himself with his father, 
projects his own misdeeds on hce. Throughout Finnegans 
Wake green leaves are figures for the poet's pages, but the 
sere tea leaves, untouched by the life-giving fluid, offer no 
refreshing draft brewed with water drawn from the Muse's 
springs. (The magical urine is another end product of these 
mysterious waters.) In middle life Joyce told Frank Budgen, 
rather wistfully, that he hoped for more children. But Nora 


bore him only two; a third pregnancy ended in a miscar- 
riage. Once again the book discloses itself as a prolonged, 
total confession, no matter how it obscures its revelations. 

The Constable takes on new dimensions in iii 4. Pre- 
viously an alternate for Shaun as the ''parochial watch'' 
(FW 186) f censor of Joyce's work and conduct, he seems 
transmuted into Shem, who has finally attained the com- 
prehensive vision Stephen lacked: He can look inward 
through the windows of the house while also observing the 
world about him. Anticipating breakfast, he is Joyce of the 
present, enmeshed in materialism; yet he is also the troubled 
Joyce dreaming of the dawn when he will break his spiritual 

Book III is a ricorso, a book of the eternal return, a night 
of Brahma preparing the new cycle to come. As such it 
epitomizes Finnegans Wake, which serves the same function 
in the structure of the tetralogy: Each is a Book of Death 
containing the promise of rebirth. We must now place the 
remaining divisions of Finnegans Wake. There will be some 
overlapping, since each stage, revolving, evolves its successor. 
We must also be mindful that in each cycle rebirth, the 
stage of quiescent gestation, leads to birth, in the next cycle, 
and remember that Joyce sees himself as twiceborn, having 
already experienced one death and rebirth. 

Book I was well named, by the authors of the Skeleton 
Key, the Book of the Parents. Although we rename it the 
Book of Birth, it is clear that in the four sections that 
compose its first half the male heritage and the father image 
are central, while the remaining four sections emphasize the 
mother's influence on her artist son. Yet the work begins 
with the female birth image of the river; falling asleep, the 
dreamer both returns to the womb and invokes the Liffey 
as Mother, Anima and Muse. 

I 1 concerns wars and battles, invasions and fraternal strife; 
the past as recorded in anthropology and history, legend 

Circling the Square 265 

and literature. Female figures appear chiefly in ancillary roles. 
The Prankqueen, however, is more than a handmaiden; a 
legendary figure, she bursts through the legend to become 
the Female Principle: Mother, Goddess, Anima, Muse. The 
Prankqueen episode epitomizes the dreamer's life cycle 
from puberty to the present. 

I 2: Here the father is ostensibly the protagonist. He is the 
victim of calumny, but his rumored guilt is really another's 
(who is recognizably Joyce in his Dublin days). A Cad 
(also Joyce) accosts hce, and taking his panicky response 
as a sign of guilt, spreads further scandal about him. Another 
surrogate of Joyce composes a scurrilous ballad about hce, 
and with his unsavory gang sings it to a delighted public. 
The ballad imputes to hce various familiar misdeeds: He 
is an invert who seeks to remake Dublin by imposing reli- 
gious reform, contraception and prohibition. We recognize 
Joyce's symbols for sterility and frustration, and recall Ste- 
phen Dedalus presumptuously aspiring to form a new 
conscience for his race. Hce bears both Dublin's guilt and 
the guilt Joyce incurred in the period of alienation, the first 
"death." The ballad may perhaps be equated with Dublin- 
ers, of which the greater part was written before the 1904 
''rebirth." It was Joyce's first major creative writing; so the 
section embraces a modicum of the artistic creativity of 

I 3 concerns the fate of the singers of the ballad — all sur- 
rogates of Joyce. They are rumored to be dead, mad, or in 
exile. There is mention of the slaying and resurrection of 
a sacrificial god. Two passages refer to old men who love 
young girls; one is C. L. Dodgson. Maudhn, he hmply holds 
the "tata of a tiny victorienne, Alys" {FW ^y). This is 
Joyce "self-exposed" as Stephen, unable to let go the lily 
(fys), the reminder of the liliata rutilantium of his mother's 
obsequies. He is still immobilized, a statue in "clericalease'^ 


garb, by the maternal farewell (tata). But the grave's victory 
is nothing (rien). A drunken wretch gives ''pseudojocax" 
reasons for hammering on a gate crowned by a ''cow's 
bonnet" (FW 63). It is the student Joyce (Jocax was a col- 
lege nickname) attacking and vainly seeking to impress a 
bovine Dublin; it is also Joyce of now, seeking truth by 
storming the horn (here "horned") gate of dreams. The 
section thus deals with the self-examination and remorse of 
both death stages, but hints at rebirth. 

I 4 also treats of death and promises rebirth. Hce, who is 
both the son's victim and the culprit son, is unmindful of 
the 'watchful treachers" at his wake; they compound Joyce's 
antagonist betrayers and Joyce himself, always the voyeur 
seeking the Creator's secrets and His power. Hce repeatedly 
escapes the tombs made ready for him. An unidentified as- 
sailant ambushes an unidentified victim, but they are recon- 
ciled. Festy King, author of the ballad, is tried for assault 
and indecency. Numerous witnesses reveal themselves as 
composites of Joyce's perennial antagonists and of Joyce; 
they are said to be identical opposites. The trial, with the 
Four Old Men as judges, is in essence the same as the 
inquisition of Yawn. Its conclusion points to atonement 
through reconciliation, and rebirth by the aid of the be- 
loved, the Leap Year Girl. While her Twenty-Eight school- 
mates adulate Shaun, who compounds the hostile aspects 
of the witnesses, she consoles the dejected Shem, even 
though he has reviled their father and expressed his con- 
tempt of court by emitting a stench. There is an account 
of a fox hunt; the prey saves his brush (the artist's imple- 
ment); we can only guess whether his pursuers are avenging 
hell hounds or the Hound of Heaven. The first four sections 
complete a cycle; they pivot around the father-son, but, 
circling back to the maternal river, conclude: "we list as 
she bibs us, by the waters of babalong" {FW 103). The 
exiled dreamer knows his bent (list) was determined by his 
first nourishment (bibs). 

Circling the Square 267 

I 5 is Anna Livia's "mamafesta." It is Joyce's work {Ulysses 
and probably Finnegans Wake); a manuscript as priceless as 
the Book of Kells, it was exhumed from a dump by the 
mother as a hen, and found by the twins as children. Yet 
in its pristine form it is the tea-stained letter of a simple, 
subliterate Irishwoman; it alludes to birth, marriage and 
death, and closes with four ''crosskisses" (FW m); this 
is a woman's prayer. But ' mamafesta" is also mammary 
feasts (festa); the mother's breast is an equivocal fount. If 
the son remains fixed in inversion, the milk is poison; if he 
weans himself, accepting from his mother only what will 
foster the bisexuality that inspires the artist and deepens his 
insight, her gift is bountiful. With its allusions to suckling 
and the twins as children, this is the ''Birth" stage, compre- 
hending both the original birth and the rebirth. 

I 6 is an examination in which the dreamer questions him- 
self and his alter ego. The twelve questions and answers 
once more recapitulate the cycle. The first three, concerning 
father, mother and the home (the Inn, or Dublin), are 
Birth. The fourth answer has four parts; it treats of the 
four provinces of Ireland represented by four cities; each 
reply is delivered by a lover in the appropriate local brogue, 
and the parts respectively emphasize birth, marriage, death 
and rebirth. Questions Five and Six deal with the man- 
servant and the crone, bowed by the practical cares of 
domestic Hfe. The seventh concerns the jurors — or the 
Apostles. Twelve, Joyce said, was the public number, and 
these men represent the whole society. Question Eight 
portrays womankind as the tempting and delectable Mag- 
gies. Question Nine reveals the artist ''collideorscape" dream- 
ing of his work in progress. Question Ten has the acrid reek 
of a burnt-out love match (''lovemutch," FW 143): An 
apparently materialistic, faithless, self-centered woman gives 
the answer.^^ Thus from Four to Ten the series mirrors 
various aspects of ''Marriage": its tasks and joys, its social 
connotations, its creative rewards, and the bitter mystery 


of love that Stephen's mother knew so well. In Question 
Eleven the "acheseyeld from Ailing" asks, de profundis, 
whether his adversaries and critics would save his soul; the 
long reply (in part a parody of Wyndham Lewis' censure of 
Joyce) is negative. This is the present stage of deathly 
despondency. The final question and answer imply rebirth 
through reconciliation: *'Sacer esto?" despite the mark of 
interrogation, is an imperative; the reply, **Semus sumus," 
suggests that the dreamer in atonement is not accursed, but 
dedicated and holy; it also suggests he is brooding and mut- 
tering to himself {mussumus, Latin: we brood or mutter). 
The examination section, showing the interrelationship of 
sex and art, is ''Marriage," but it mingles the fruitful 
introspection of the reborn artist in young manhood and 
maturity with the bitter self-examination of the present 
''death" period. 

I 7 shows us Shem the Penman, self-immured in an ivory 
tower littered with discards of the past. He fears perpetual 
egocentric retrospection will dry up the springs of inspira- 
tion — this is the dreamer now. The Constable accosts him, 
disparaging his work in terms of Dubliners, the sour fruit 
of the first death stage, disapproving his drinking and his 
free union. Absurd though the Constable is, for Shem he 
is a bridge to the past and the real world of the present; 
when he becomes Justius, his censure is more valid, and 
Shem — now Mercius — despairs. This is the present death. 
He cowers, remembering the reproachful voice of his dead 
mother, but he exorcizes the "brown mummy" by invoking 
the riant, living Anna Livia, and raising the life wand that 
makes the dead speak. Thus this section too shows us death 
but promises rebirth. 

I 8 is the poetic Anna Livia section. Alp gives her children 
equivocal gifts. Robing herself like a goddess she emerges 
as a figure of fun, a pigmy conjure woman. But when her 

Circling the Square 269 

man sinks into depression and acedia, to restore him she 
enlists the allure of all women. The light fails, the voices 
fade, but we are conscious that through the night the river 
flows on bringing birth and rebirth. Even now it has com- 
pleted the cycle once more, bringing us back to the opening 
page of the book. 

Book II is of course the Book of Marriage. Its central theme 
is sex in the life of the artist. While each section touches 
on several periods of Joyce's hfe, there is in general a progres- 
sion in time; the focus of each section is a period later than 
that of the preceding one. 

II 1, the Mime of Mick, Nick and the Maggies, is both a 
youthful battle of the sexes and the conflict between the 
Apollonian and the Dionysian. The dreamer, as Nick-Glugg, 
cannot give the required answer, heliotrope, in the girls' 
game. Equally vainly he seeks to unriddle their equivocal 
nature, but receives from them only mocking negatives. Are 
they jewels, or tokens of the devil? Are they "jaoneofergs" 
{FW 2^^), embattled saintly virgins, or like Molly, affirmers 
of life, yea-sayers, and sources of power {ja one of ergs)? 
Rebuffed and angry, he rejects the sacraments and, as Joyce 
explained it (L 295), threatens to write ''blackmail stuff" 
about his parents. He escapes — into exile — again and 
again. The ''first death" is mirrored; "dazed and late in his 
crave" he is Stephen of Ulysses, even the once urgent libido 
defunct. But he is rescued by a "moliman" {FW 2^0-^^ 
is a conglomeration of allusions to "Circe" and other epi- 
sodes involving Bloom). Finally, "croonless, creedless hangs 
his haughty" (FW 2p) and the "producer" of the Mime 
causes Glugg to fall into "abuliousness." This is the first 
acedia and the present one; he will be rescued by another 
Eve, created "at a side issue" {FW 2^^) from his own being 
to meet his need. The section parodies all Joyce's work 
including unpubhshed juvenilia; it mocks especially the 


young Stephen in his Shelleyan mood, so that although it 
reflects the present abuhousness, it specifically concerns the 
early experiments with sex and art, the protomarriage period. 

II 2 portrays the intellectual rather than the artist. A would- 
be philosopher, a juvenile pedant, prepares lessons with his 
mocking brother. Their sister sits by teasing them with com- 
ments vulgar and anti-intellectual, but pregnant with ageless 
female lore. Whatever subject the curriculum touches, the 
pupils somehow relate it to sex, the topic that fills their 
minds. At mid-point, while Dolph (Shem) diagrams the 
female genital — and urinary — apparatus in a quasi-Euclid- 
ean demonstration, there is a recess. The future is revealed 
in a vision: The brothers will someday sit together, rem- 
iniscing, over the fleshpots of Paris. They will recall the 
return of an exile to Ireland, and a wedding in exile that 
marries a ''companion'' to an isolated, self-pitying Isolde. 
An inept critic will attempt to explain the artist as though 
he were a conventional writer of infantile simplicity (this 
is J. F. Byrne's estimate of Joyce). As lessons are resumed, 
the satirical twin has exchanged places with his solemn 
brother, as in captivity to the Prankqueen Hilary becomes 
Tristian and Tristopher is transformed into the dissipated 
Toughertrees. This section, revealing the life-changing effects 
of love hoped for and love attained, touches on puberty but 
chiefly concerns the early married years — the period of 
Exiles — with, reference to Joyce's grievances against Nora. 
Throughout, mother wit sets at nought the male intellect. 

II 3 is the Tavern scene. The dreamer is first seen as a 
tailor or screeder, a scribe who cuts things up, shadowed by 
the Ship's Husband, his dull domesticated self. The Tailor 
vainly attempts to fit the hunchbacked Norwegian Captain; 
this sea rover is both father image and the dreamer's self. 
In a television skit the dreamer is Taff, and at first indistin- 
guishable from his partner Butt. They diverge into the fa- 

Circling the Square 271 

miliar antitheses, but at the end are specifically said to be 
identical. As accomplices in shooting the Russian General 
they are Joyce in late adolescence seeking answers to cosmic 
riddles in esoteric cults and looking for political solutions 
to mundane problems. The general is two "das" {FW 101; 
i.e. two fathers, two Russian yeses): The Church-State 
tyranny is equated with the alien Russian domination of 
Finland; each requires from its yes men a double assent. 
But the general also symbolizes Joyce's double vision of the 
atonement of son and father, for the father-general rises 
apotheosized and confesses all Joyce's oft-confessed offenses. 
The tavern becomes the scene of a wedding; ostensibly the 
marriage of the Norwegian Captain, it is also the Tailor's. 
Like Tim Finnegan's wake, the festivities become a "mellay," 
but it is no jolly sportive brawl. The celebrants are a men- 
acing mob, the chimes ring knells, dreadful forebodings of 
death are heard: timor mortis conturbat me. In truth it is 
a lament for a maker, for the roving seaman is "Cawcaught. 
Coocaged" {FW 329) in a deadly domesticity. The Four 
Old Men, inundated by water parted from the sea, plain- 
tively cry "Hide! Seek!" (FW 372). The once inspiring 
water, cut off from its living source, is literally lethal; the 
wine of inspiration has become Heidsieck, emblem of stulti- 
fying luxury. At the end the Tavernkeeper, thinking himself 
alone, drains the dregs his guests have left. 

II 4 again links marriage, emasculation and death, yet hints 
at resurrection. The tale of Tristan and Isolde is interwoven 
with an account of the Four Old "heladies," utterly senile 
and epicene. Their names — those of the Evangelists — are 
telescoped into Mamalujo; not the years alone, but luxury, 
has effeminized them, for lujo (Spanish) is luxury. In "re- 
memboring" the escapades of their Dublin youth, it is always 
Joyce's past they recollect. One former boon companion, 
a sort of Houyhnhnm, is the bitter young Jovce equating 
himself with Swift; another, a "nailscissor," slyly derides 


Stephen's ambition to emulate, as artist, the detachment of 
a nailparing deity. All the old friends meet sad fates, and 
all their names are variants of Mark of Cornwall's. (Al- 
though the second oldster, Mark Lyons or St. Mark, is the 
patron of marriage, allusions to him often suggest im- 
potence: e.g.: ''there was never a marcus . . . among the 
manhes." FW g6.) Drooling as they watch Tristan and 
Isolde, the Four are Joyce recalling his own elopement when 
he was virile as this athletic Tristan and, like him, mouthed 
abstruse philosophy and derivative verse to an Isolde who 
had "nothing under her hat but red hair and solid ivory . . . 
and . . . bedroom eyes" (FW 396). Isolde is Nora, always 
decrying Joyce's work and mourning for her "lost lover," 
and thus unfaithful to the mate at her side. For Mark is 
the same lover grown older, betrayed and unmanned by her 
incorrigible repining. In Isolde's backward view her "luftcat 
revol" {FW 388) is the ardent young man who offered tact, 
and a tactile love; now the "nephew" is only a "wehpen"; 
Joyce's pen is her woe. To close the section the Four sing 
a song of four stanzas, each concerning one of the life 
stages; the third particularly is packed with death imagery 
Joyce used as early as "The Dead." So the section shows 
marriage as deadly, but it promises rebirth, for to the old 
men, bedridden and dying a few pages earlier, the gift of 
song returns at the end. 

Book IV is, of course. Rebirth, as the radio proclaims: 
"Array! Surrection" (FW 593). Now the dreamer offers 
more affirmatively than before the "left hinted palinode" 
[FW ^j^) as confession, expiation and atonement. How 
far-reaching and unequivocal the positions are is debatable, 
but in view of the whole tenor of the tetralogy and in the 
light of readings of the last book too involved to be at- 
tempted here, Joyce's cunningly veiled statement can be 
tentatively summarized as follows. An omnipotent, intelli- 
gent creator continues to create a dynamic cosmos; becom- 

Circling the Square 273 

ing rather than being, it is process, work in progress though 
not necessarily ''progressive." The Creator eludes dogma and 
dialectic. He seems indifferent, but to a maturer Stephen 
He is not a mahgn hangman, but inscrutable, as infinitely 
beyond human question and judgment as Job's Creator. But 
though He is remote, to those who, like Anna Livia, have 
never ceased to commune with Him, he is not impersonal. 
This the dreamer now realizes, accepting that he is in his 
Father and his Father in him. The immanent Creator is 
also transcendent; in Him are combined all the concepts 
expressed by the Trinity, the mystery reason can never 
define although intuition may sense it and symbols show it 
forth. Anna Livia, the necessary mediatrix, returns at the 
end as the lost mother, lost wife, who to her "sonhusband" 
has been a benign Jocasta. On the penultimate page she 
seems to betray and desert her human loves, but it is be- 
cause she hears and must obey the far call of her Father. 
On the last page she seems once more the wife always 
lamenting the lost lover: 'If I seen him bearing down on me 
now under whitespread wings like he'd come from Ark- 
angels, I sink rd die down over his feet, humbly dumbly, 
only to washup" {FW 628). The backward-looking, lonely, 
human woman, who has suffered her own religious terror, 
is now the repentant Magdalen at the feet of her Lord. But 
she is also the Virgin of the Annunciation; humbly assenting 
to the will of her Father made known by the archangelic 
messenger, she accepts the burden of the unborn savior. 
Like the crone Kate, she is custodian of the keys, and they 
open a better heaven than the Ondt's. All along she has 
offered them to the recalcitrant male as she lured his body 
and led his spirit to the edge of the waters of death that 
are the waters of rebirth. Beyond them she can hear — and 
perhaps the dreamer may yet hear — the far calls of the 
unseeable Father whom the little Stephen thought he saw 
with the eyes of the body as he gazed upon his father ac- 
cording to the flesh. 

274 ^^^ PHUL 

Thus Finnegans Wake circles back ineluctably to the first 
pages of the Portrait. There the child saw his father looking 
at him ''through a glass: he had a hairy face." If the human 
father's vision was faulty, so was the child's: Making an 
anthropomorphic god in his father's image, he too looked 
through a glass, and darkly. His mother had "a nicer smell" 
than his father; she plays for him to dance the sailor's horn- 
pipe; she knows her son, a little Adam, will apologize. By 
perfume Joyce always symbolizes feminine allure, and music 
and all things heard represent aesthetic and spiritual prompt- 
ings. So Stephen's mother is a figure for all women, the 
beloved temptress and the Muse as well as the mediatrix 
Virgin; she tends, inspires and intercedes for the son who 
in his old age, after his long Odyssey, will hear her voice 
once more before death closes his ears until the cycle brings 

In each book of the tetralogy women, whose unearthly 
power Joyce so often fears and resents, have the last word. 
In the Portrait, the Book of Birth — and of the first ''Mar- 
riage" — the mother's prayer for Stephen's caritas is rendered 
almost inaudible by the clamor of his overweening ambition. 
In Ulysses, the book of the first "Death" with its promise 
of rebirth, Molly's aspect as death goddess is obscured by 
her affirmation of life and beauty and her impregnable 
undogmatic faith. In Exiles, which only adumbrates a true 
marriage. Bertha voices the detested feminine nostalgia that, 
in the event, Joyce recognizes as the manifestation of a 
tenacious fidehty. In the Book of Death, Joyce masks him- 
self as the dreamer at the wake, mourning an earthly father 
whose death inevitably brings his own terrifyingly closer. 
And once again he looks to Woman for rebirth, and his pass- 
port to immortality. 


Note on Sources: The title is from Finnegans Wake in which, 
on page 186, Shem the Penman is seen "on his last public 

Circling the Square 275 

misappearance, circling the square." Perhaps a more appropriate 
subtitle would be "An Apology for an Apologia," since in 
''James Joyce and the Strabismal Apologia" (A James Joyce 
Miscellany: Second Series) I brashly opined that Finnegans 
Wake is "unstructured." 

For the biographical data I am indebted to the following: 
Sylvia Beach, Shakespeare and Company (New York, 1959); 
Frank Budgen, James Joyce and the Making of Ulysses (London, 
1934) and Further Recollections of James Joyce (London, 
1955); J. F. Byrne, Silent Years (New York, 1953); Mary 
Colum, Life and the Dream (Garden City, 1947) and Mary 
and Padraic Colum, Our Friend James Joyce (Garden City, 
1958); Richard Ellmann, James Joyce (New York, 1959); 
Stuart Gilbert, James Joyce, Letters (New York, 1957); Herbert 
Gorman, James Joyce (New York, Revised Edition, 1948); 
Stanislaus Joyce, My Brother's Keeper (New York, 1958). 

Quotations from Joyce's own writings are from the following 
editions, abbreviated in citation as indicated: The Viking Press: 
Exiles (E), Finnegans Wake (FW) and Letters (L); The 
Modern Library: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (?) 
and Ulysses (U). 

1. See W. Y. Tindall's introduction to James Joyce, Chamber 
Music (New York, 1954), pp. 63-4, on onanism as a symbol. 

2. And so did Joyce, in perspective. In Gorman's James Joyce, 
p. 226, the play is described as Joyce's "final compliment to 
Ibsen" in which he attacked, although "one cannot say he 
solved," the problem of "complete spiritual freedom" between 
lovers and the "fear of the intellectual that he bind with his 
will and desire the intuitive gestures of the beloved." The style 
unmistakably identifies this as one of Joyce's own third-person 
contributions to Gorman's book. If while writing the play Joyce 
extenuated Rowan's moral obliquity and cruelty, eventually, this 
later comment suggests, he saw him as an older but not wiser 
Stephen; equally self-centered and devoid of an artist's empathy, 
both are mere intellectuals. But love, like religion, is a mystery 
that eludes the intellect and can only be apprehended by intu- 
ition. Rowan incessantly proclaims freedom, but his silence 
indicates how complaisantly he accepts Hand's congratulations 
for having remade Bertha's personality. Actually he is another 


Helmer, who has from the first tried to mold a doll for himself. 
True, the model he selects is Nora Helmer who, resembling 
Bertha in a capacity for self-forgetful love, is her antithesis in 
her need for self-reliant freedom; to Bertha, the freedom Rowan 
persistently forces on her is terrifying. By his will and desire he 
thwarts her characteristic intuitive gesture of dependence on his 
love. She begs pathetically for an assurance that he needs her, 
but the word she implores he withholds, for he is still unable 
to give or accept love ungrudgingly. 

To read Ibsen Joyce taught himself Norwegian, in which, as 
Clive Hart helpfully informs me, gift means either married or 
poison. The lesson sank in. But the Norwegian Captain, that 
reluctant bridegroom, is partly a jibe at the doctrinaire views 
of marriage Joyce derived from Ibsen. That Nora Barnacle was 
anti-intellectual as well as mindless seems often to have embit- 
tered Joyce, yet imagination shudders to contemplate his suffer- 
ing if he had espoused an Ibsenian '"strong-minded" intellectual 
who could — and would — adduce rational arguments to support 
her opinions and wishes. 

3. Oliver Gogarty until his death alternated between the two 
characterizations. If either had been more plausible it might 
have served as defense against the innuendoes about Mulligan; 
together, they cancel out. The Doctor did protest too much. 

4. The explication has cost exegetes much labor trying to 
reconstitute the conventional stations of the devotion. In fifteen 
years of revision Joyce so overelaborated the text that only a few 
stations can be identified, and they are in disarranged order. So 
the conjurer misdirected attention for the meaningful clue: that 
twicetold events are repeating themselves backward. The lap- 
wing Joyce, like the dream censor, displaces emphasis, magnify- 
ing the trivial to defend the significant. 

5. Lambda may allude to Judas, since to the Greeks it sig- 
nified thirty. The letter Y is also somehow an attribute of Shaun 
and Issy; to the Pythagoreans it symbolized life's crossroads, one 
good, the other evil (vd. Encyclopaedia Britannica, xi edition, 
under "Y"). 

6. Thus FW 412.13-19, echoes Cranly's admonitions (P 281 
ff.). For Cranly-Byrne as one model for Shaun, see my "Shaun 
in Brooklyn/' The Analyst, xvi. 

Circling the Square 277 

7. Lynch, Stephen's Judas, swore "in yellow" (P 239). The 
original, Vincent Cosgrave, drove Joyce into hysterical paroxysms 
of jealousy in 1909 by claiming that Nora Barnacle had clandes- 
tinely accepted his attentions while Joyce was courting her. In 
Ulysses, Mulligan doffs a yellow dressing gown to put on a 
primrose waistcoat. Yellow is particularly the color of Issy or 
Isolde; here Shaun is her "male corrispondee" (FW 487). 

8. She calls Jaun "benjamin brother" (FW 457), though he 
is the elder twin; "Jaunick" and "Jer" (FW 458), but Shem is 
Nick and Jerry; she also addresses him as "Jaime" (FW 461). 

9. And to Birth of the second minor cycle. The section opens 
with Jaun as a fast-growing "cotted child" (FW 429). 

10. We seem to know Mrs. Earwicker's voice better than we 
do because her letter so perfectly suggests her speech. To this 
point we have heard in direct discourse only a characteristic 
three-word sentence (FW 12). Alp's lament (FW 201) mingles 
the woman's voice with the river's; the voice Mercius remembers 
(FW 194) is that of May Dedalus' ghost. 

11. We might have availed ourselves earlier of a hint in 
Joyce's catalogue of rumors about himself (L 165). Wyndham 
Lewis had been "told that I . . . always carried four watches 
and rarely spoke except to ask my neighbour what o'clock it 
was." The "Four Watches of Shaun" is a pun; the vigils are 
Joyce's own. The timepieces, like Paley's watch, are both micro- 
cosmic metaphors for the macrocosm and evidences of design; 
their hands point to the unseen maker. 

12. A mutch is a shawl. The smoke imagery evokes the sex- 
ridden Stephen censing an idealized temptress, yet embracing 
cheap shawlswathed harlots. The dulling embers are sour be- 
cause the beloved is materialistic (i.e. lovemutch, love of ap- 
parel); yet, suffering qualms about her unsanctioned union, she 
longs to return and light a candle at the altar she abandoned. 
But there is compassion too; the penitent is forgiven because she 
has loved much. 


Notes for the Staging of Finnegans Wake 


JAMES Joyce may well have envisaged a drama or, as 
Stuart Gilbert suggests, a film based upon one or both of 
his later novels : Ulysses and Finnegans Wake. In both works 
we find sections written in dialogue form and complete with 
stage directions. But, of the three plays thus far drawn from 
Joyce's novels, only one, Ulysses in Nighttown, can be clas- 
sified as a successful adaptation of Joyce's work. The other 
two are instructive failures. 

Allan McClelland's Bloomsday, was produced at Oxford 
under admittedly unfavorable conditions in the winter of 
1958. It represents an attempt to condense a complex 767- 
page book into two-hour's entertainment, a difficult enough 
job when you are working with, say, Maugham, an impos- 
sible one when Joyce is the subject. The author, an English 
actor, has demonstrated both his awareness of theatrical 
values and his rather limited acquaintance with Ulysses. 
Using Joyce's words wherever possible, he has cut the action 
to the bone sacrificing in the process all but one of the book's 
themes and destroying its structural balance. Understand- 
ably, the play emerges a varied, but shallow, naturalistic 
drama, lacking in continuity and point, racing relentlessly 

DAVID HAYMAN is the duthoT of d work in French on Joyce et 
Mallarme An dssociate professor dt the University of Texds, he is 
currently editing unpublished mdnuscripts of Joyce. 


Notes for Staging Finnegans Wake 279 

through an elaborate series of more or less disconnected 
sequences: a theatrical version of the motion picture that 
was played too fast. 

Ulysses in Nighttown (New York, 1958) was first pre- 
sented at the off-Broadway Rooftop Theater in 1958 and 
later taken on tour to London and the continent. Introduc- 
tory material has been taken from two of the book's early 
episodes; but the adaptor, Marjorie Barkentin, draws most 
of her material from a single chapter, the ''nighttown" or 
"Circe" sequence. Like Mr. McClelland she omits much 
that is extraneous to the conflicts treated, but she does not 
distort Joyce's meaning or change the mood of the chapter, 
the most vivid and stageworthy in the entire book. Else- 
where in the novel we find only brief snippets of existence 
contributing to a larger progression. In this chapter there 
is a clear dramatic development; there are easily defined 
conflicts, complex character interrelationships; and there is 
a satisfactory if ambiguous resolution. Elsewhere, the effects 
hang on literary techniques alien to the stage, and the drama 
takes place mainly within the minds of the protagonists. 
Here the contents of the brains of the two exhausted heroes, 
their inner drama is projected in the form of dialogue and 
mime against the tawdry substance of the night world with 
its witches' sabbath of whores and males in rut. Secret medi- 
tations and hidden urges become overt, if almost surrealisti- 
cally conceived, activity. Nowhere else in Ulysses are the 
internal and the external aspects of events so thoroughly 
integrated; nowhere else are action and reaction so mingled 
as to make visible all facets of behavior. It is here that the 
themes meet and interlock, that the essence of the day's 
experience is reconstituted and given point. 

Working with the relatively narrow compass of this ideally 
constituted chapter, the adaptor and the director were able 
to create a convincing spectacle. The production emphasized 
the language and tonal qualities of the original, its imagery 


and the implied rhythms, the dreamhke effects which lend 
themselves best to expression through dance and the mime. 
Initiation was not a prerequisite for enjoyment. 

Finnegans Wake, a less accessible work, has thus far found 
no comparable champions. One major play, Thornton Wil- 
der's The Skin of Our Teeth, shows the influence of Joyce's 
book. But while we discover here the Wake's basic situation, 
the existence throughout the ages of an archetypal family, 
Mr. Wilder's play uses neither Joyce's words nor his struc- 
tural devices. There remains Mary Manning's version, pub- 
lished in 1957 under the title Passages from Finnegans Wake 
(Cambridge, 1957) and produced at the Poet's Playhouse 
in Cambridge (1955). I have heard from friends who were 
present at the early performances and from Nora White 
Shattuck, the choreographer, that the production was well 
received and that both the cast and the audience made con- 
tact with Joyce's book through the medium of the spoken 
word, the gesture and the dance. 

Unfortunately, Miss Manning, like Mr. McClelland, over- 
stepped herself by purporting to take as her domain the 
whole of Finnegans Wake's rather ponderous bulk. Given 
the nature of her material, the density of its language and 
the complexity of its organization, we need hardly be startled 
to find Joyce's dreambook of mankind distorted by this 
adaptation. As any reader of Finnegans Wake will see, the 
stage version resembles nothing more than a paste and shears 
job; it brings more mud and new confusion. Lines are at- 
tributed to the wrong characters, actions are misinterpreted, 
while whole passages are lifted out of context for reasons 
which are suspect. Miss Manning pays much attention to 
characterization, drawing heavily upon the first and third 
sections of the Wake for random lines and sequences. But 
the characters she creates are only partially Joyce's and the 
more coherent sequences from book 11 are virtually ignored. 
Even more than Mr. McClelland's play, this spectacle tends 
to demonstrate how easily Joyce's values can be misrepre- 

Notes for Staging Finnegans Wake 281 

sented by a broadly generalized adaptation of his work. Here 
meaning, substance, balance and dramatic consistency are 
all sacrificed to the carnival spirit. Though the act of bring- 
ing Joyce's words and some of his humour before an audience 
is in itself worthy of praise, the atomization of his characters 
and structure in the name of his creation is not. 

The Harvard production, good vaudeville and bad Joyce, 
represents a fine bit of spadework and a useful precedent, 
but perhaps there is a more valid approach to the staging of 
this book. My suggestion would be to follow the lead of the 
Nighttown adaptation and concentrate on the one segment 
of the book which best lends itself to the stage: the pub 
scene from section 11 with its detailed account of the tragi- 
comic demise of the Hero. But before entering into a dis- 
cussion of the dramatic possibilities of this chapter, I should 
like briefly to resume some of the principal aspects of Fin- 
negans Wake. 


A compendium of man's experience, Finnegans Wake 
treats of the night and apparently takes place in a dreamer's 
mind. The story told is simple, elusive and redundant. Ac- 
cording to the theory upon which the book is based, history 
repeats itself with predictable regularity; each man is the 
universe in small and every event of his life reflects the form 
of the whole. Like Ulysses, the Wake is cyclical and its 
people are archetypes or lowest common denominators for 
mankind. But in the latter, little emphasis is laid upon the 
contemporary level. Even place is as uncertain as it is mul- 
tiple. The past, present and future here merge kaleidoscopi- 
cally, and Man's experiences become as the notes, motifs, 
themes and as the overtones of a complex piece of music. 
Instead of individuated or rounded characters Joyce creates 
an archetypal family in an archetypal locale: the family 


Earwicker of Dublin, father-mother-sons-and-daughter or hce- 
ALP-Shem-Shaun-and-Issy who give their identities to count- 
less individuals past and present, fictional and real; to parts 
of the landscape; to planets and stars in the sky, animals and 
birds, nations of the world, religions and philosophies. Most 
remarkable of all is the language which the author devised 
to help him suggest the above: the wordplay and puns which 
permit him to evoke not only all sorts of actions but all sorts 
of reactions and moods simultaneously, to provide his read- 
ers with a perspective that shifts elusively as we bring it into 
focus, that modulates itself to the individual mind and even 
to the individual's mood. 

Here in its broad outline is Joyce's plot: With the sunset, 
man falls under the spell of the female or instinctual. During 
the night, he must redeem himself by means of a quest, must 
refresh his powers through sleep which takes him beyond 
himself into a world without definition. Man's goal is lucid- 
ity or the day: a fresh awakening. But the quest itself carries 
him through all history and his own individual past, present 
and future. 

For the purposes of this discussion we may call the Wake's 
four major sections childhood, maturity, senescence and 
death. Book 11, or the second section, treats of the most vital 
part of a man's existence: the period during which his activ- 
ity bears its fruit; the peak of his development in the post- 
fall or night world. But each subdivision of the Wake is 
logically a microcosm of the whole. Hence the four chapters 
of book II contain treatments in this order of childhood or 
the children at play; adolescence or the young at their studies; 
maturity and decline or the males at the tavern; and finally, 
old age and death with overtones of rebirth. 

It is the third chapter of this section which is concerned 
with the most dramatic phase of the vital second period of a 
man's development. Occurring at the structural center of the 
Wake, this chapter is the only compact unit with a stage- 
worthy dramatic organization and a significant denouement. 

Notes for Staging Finnegans Wake 283 

It contains in fact several such dramatic units, as Joyce, 
predictably enough, divides the chapter into four ''tales," 
each with its own development and climax: each with its 
four parts. Within the larger context and through a pro- 
gression that is at once subtle, lucid and consistent, the 
tales make manifest the steps of the mature hero's dissolu- 

Joyce's plan is such that an abridged adaptation can re- 
produce the major facets of ii-iii's action, which is in turn 
complex and varied enough to convey the implications of 
the Wakes language to an uninitiated audience. Also in the 
chapter's favor are its unity of theme, its orderly and con- 
ventional plot development, plus of course the complete in- 
tegration of part with part, aspect with aspect and character 
with character. All of these qualities are available elsewhere 
in smaller quantities, but nowhere else are theatrical values 
so evident. 

This chapter deals directly with the tragi-comic circum- 
stances of the hero-figure or all-father hce, Humphrey 
Chimpden Earwicker, in our times a pub-keeper or host 
in the small suburban village of Chapelizod, on the outskirts 
of Phoenix Park, home of the Dublin Zoo and the Welling- 
ton monument. The location is significant. We are outside 
the Garden of Eden or alongside the Phoenix' pyre in the 
company of post-fall man living in the memory of the fall 
and the primal sin. Like man, the day has fallen; dusk is 
deepening; and though the female is not present in this 
turn-of-the-century pub with its roistering rout of male drink- 
ers, her spirit hovers over the proceedings and colors the 
action. For the night world is traditionally female, uncon- 
scious or instinctual. Hce himself participates in a number 
of existences, all of them consistent with the epoch described 
by our chapter: he is Odin, Christ, Noah, Roderick 
O'Conor, King Mark, to name only a few. Standing behind 
his bar, the pub-keeping hero dispenses drink to his tweh^e 
clients in a manner reminiscent of Christ serving wine to 


the twelve disciples, Odin feasting the dead heroes, and King 
Roderick O'Conor entertaining his dissatisfied nobles. His 
physical movements are, however, minimal. Once or twice 
he leaves the tavern to visit his privy. At other times he is 
seen counting coins or uneasily picking up bits of his client's 
conversation. Furthermore, his role is a mute one until half- 
way through the chapter when, impressed by a growing 
sentiment of opposition, he feels called upon to defend his 
present position as server of drink, leader of men and be- 
stower of grace. 

At this point, by attempting to justify himself before his 
guests, he lays himself open to the overt judgment of cus- 
tom or of public opinion. He is saved only when, at pub- 
closing time, the reluctant drinkers are expelled from the 
pub by the old manservant, Siggerson. Once out of doors the 
angered clients raise their voices in drunken revelry reaffirm- 
ing their condemnation of hce to the tune of the scurrilous 
lampoon, "The Ballad of Persse O'Reilly" (or perce oreille: 
earwig), the death hymn of the hero's reputation. Now the 
exhausted host accepts his fate or succumbs to it by drinking 
his guests' leavings and falling into a drunken slumber, ready 
at last to dream the dream which is Finnegans Wake. 

In terms of the particular night of Finnegans Wake, the 
hour is nearing midnight. In terms of social history, the auto- 
crat has abdicated in favor of popular rule. In terms of arche- 
types, we are witnessing the tragedy of the masterful leader 
or father-figure gone to seed. What follows after ii-iii is his 
theophany, or the rise of his somewhat etherealized spirit in 
the form of the dream son or new leader, the successor 
in whom the heroic past reigns as the sign of authority. 

Notes for Staging Finnegans Wake 285 


In the stage version hce's place is behind the bar until 
the customers have left, but he should have a silent helper 
or counterpart in the management of his establishment: 
Siggerson or the hero grown old. This personage has a clear 
dramatic function. He embodies the true condition or fate 
of the Hero as opposed to the illusory one evidenced by the 
vital bar-keeper. Siggerson, whose Scandinavian name iden- 
tifies him as a debased descendant of the original Viking 
rulers of Dublin, is occupied serving drinks, cleaning tables, 
keeping order and finally clearing the house. It is in this role 
or as a counterpart of Siggerson, the worn-out King Roderick 
O'Conor, that hce finally falls under the influence of drink. 
The two should metaphorically blend into one at the end of 
the play. In all events, Siggerson is an ironic constant, a 
mirror image of hce; and the narrowing of the gap which 
separates master from servant is part and parcel with the 
tragic development illustrated by this chapter. It calls to 
mind the conversion which takes place at the end of Oedipus 
Rex where the king becomes the equal of the blind seer 
Tiresias. Characteristically, in Joyce's book the same pro- 
gression may be interpreted as comic; for there is much that 
is ridiculous in the fate of an aging pub-keeper who, having 
rid himself of antagonistic guests, proceeds to finish their 
drinks while dancing a tipsy jig. On the surface everything 
in the Wake is hilarious. This paradox was intended by 
Joyce. Its nature can be made clear to an audience with the 
aid of cleverly manipulated language and perhaps also with 
the aid of masks suggestive of the ritual origin of drama. 

Till now I have paid scant attention to the action taking 
place in front of the bar. Here, along with the host's sterile 
future or Siggerson, we find the above-mentioned twelve 
clients: the king's subjects, the worshippers or disciples of 
the scapegoat hero, the hours of his day or the months of his 


year. They are also a cross-section of the useful trades, a 
group of citizens in the act of getting drunk or surrendering 
to some primeval urge, that is, coming into contact with 
their universal or archetypal heritage. Hence we may equate 
them with the ritual audience or the chorus of a Greek play. 
In terms of the pub-keeping present, this group of ordinary 
citizens is occupied drinking, quarreling, telling barroom 
tales and hstening to the pub radio. Its components are an 
aspect of the mass mind, hardly worthy of differentiation, 
but capable of making rough and ready distinctions and of 
acting with violence when aroused. As Joyce says, ''Group 
drinkards maaks grop thinkards." 

These clients occupy a middle plane in the stage version 
of the chapter. They are not brought into clearer focus until 
the penultimate scene. However, the action of the chapter, 
which may best be envisaged as taking place mainly in the 
pub-keeper's brain, is capable of expression partially through 
the medium of their reactions. Filtering through the Hero's 
consciousness, their behavior evokes deep sensations raised 
from the primitive or shared substrata of experience: guilt 
feelings associated with the Hero's past or feelings of inade- 
quacy Hnked to his present. Cast in narrative form these are 
projected onto the stage through the medium of a mirror 
group of clients whose substance and behavior are ultimately 
more convincing than are those of the primary set of drinkers. 
Ideally both the primary hce and the primary set of twelve 
along with the ''real" or "temporal" level of the action 
should serve as a backdrop for the mental activity of the 
hero-figure. In the night world, what we normally perceive 
as real becomes bidimensional or flat. But, given the limits 
of the stage and of the audience, we can only approximate 
this condition by placing in the foreground or in front of 
the basic barroom scene physical embodiments of the pub- 
keeper's fantasy. 

There are a number of ways in which the scene could be 
reproduced. The primary level might be projected upon a 

Notes for Staging Finnegans Wake 287 

gauze backdrop; it might be portrayed by actors placed di- 
rectly behind, to one side of or even above the mirror group. 
It might include a primary hce with a primary bar or it 
might not. This would depend upon physical factors. What 
is important however is that the audience understand the 
nature of the dramatic situation and the locus of the drama. 
It must be reasonably evident that, as Joyce says in one of 
his earliest notebooks, the ''characters exhibit to [the] ter- 
rified protagonist [hce] their dream malevolence." Given 
this knowledge, the theatergoers will be equipped to appre- 
ciate the humour of the Wake and the pathos and irony 
which filter through that humour. The swift pace of the 
action and its multiplicity make it necessary that these qual- 
ities be gently affirmed by means of such devices as the 
animated backdrop. 

Joyce thought of the entire chapter as a single tale narrated 
in a single voice, a frame story in the tradition of the 
Decameron or of the 1001 Nights. The sub-tales, four in 
number, each contribute to the coherence of the major unit, 
and taken together the chapter and its parts represent an 
account of the progression of the oral tradition and of the 
short-tale form through the ages or from historical period to 
historical period. Narrators are therefore an essential part of 
the stage version. The voice of the frame tale might emanate 
from among the primary group of clients. For dramatic effect 
his identity could be withheld until in the final sequence 
a spotlight reveals him to be none other than hce's double, 
Siggerson. This ''mystery'' narrator should be heard only at 
the beginning of the chapter and in the intermissions be- 
tween the acts or scenes. Each of the individual scenes has 
a voice and locale of its own and in each case the narrator 
should speak from the level on which the particular tale 

Taken separately, each of the stories gives a diflPerently 
modulated account of the Hero's fall. First, there is the 
capitulation to woman or the procreative act; then, the fall 


at the hands of the progeny or a usurpation of function; 
third, comes dissolution or the loss of position or face before 
inferiors; and fourth, the acceptance of age, inanition and 
death. Viewed as a part of a rational framework these tales 
form a logical and coherent progression, a variation on the 
four phase structure of the Wake itself. 

As the chapter opens, we are told how a certain Norwegian 
Captain made three raids on the Irish coast or three visits 
to the port of Dublin, each time taking something without 
paying for it. On the fourth and final visit he is apprehended 
by his landlubber counterpart, baptized and married off to 
the daughter of Ireland, alp, traditionally the wife of hce. 
Visit by visit, the figure of the captain becomes increasingly 
civilized, until, in the last sequence, the buccaneering Viking 
is very like a Dutch sea captain, a peaceful merchant. The 
Captain's story is among other things a record of Dublin's 
maritime history, of colonization and conquest and of com- 
merce. It is the tale of man's coming or the taming of the 
sea and of man's subjection to woman and the social neces- 
sities: his loss of freedom. It concludes on the note of child- 
birth or fruition. The next tale takes up somewhat later and 
records the experiences of the Irish in the church or at war: 
that is, serving stranger lords. In it an Irish "wild goose" 
(soldier or missionary monk) reports how he (or someone 
with whom he identifies) has shot or otherwise embarrassed 
the hero-figure, a Russian General in the Crimean War sur- 
prised while answering the call of nature. After commerce 
and seamanship, war and religion, come politics and law 
which Joyce treats by describing the trial and conviction of 
a public figure (hce). The last tale takes drunkenness, the 
favorite Irish vice, as one of its themes and defeat as another 
when the rollicking King Roderick O'Conor, last high king 
of Ireland, tipples his way into eternity with a heavy heart. 

If we are to preserve the structure of our models, the 
staging of the first tales must be elaborate. Thus the Cap- 
tain's tale will be staged like a flattened-out three ring circus. 

Notes for Staging Finnegans Wake 289 

At least three levels of activity are implied by Joyce's treat- 
ment of this sequence, though attention need be focused on 
only one level at a time and on only one aspect of that level. 
Briefly, here is how the first act might be played. From his 
position behind the bar hce broods upon the implications 
of the tales being told in the pub and creates in his mind the 
second scenic level with its mirror clients. On this second 
level the tale is told by a second set of clients, but its action 
must be mimed and acted, partially at least, on a supple- 
mentary level by actors in period costumes. Much broad fun 
can be had through the presentation of the Captain's com- 
ings and goings, the rage of the repeatedly outwitted lands- 
men, and the final jubilee celebration on the occasion of the 
marriage to alp as well as through the mimed reactions and 
the general behavior of the Host: "the pilsener had the 
baar." There should be evident physical resemblances be- 
tween the Host, the principal landsman (or "Ships Hus- 
band") and the Captain; for they, like the Russian General 
and King Roderick, are all aspects of hce. As the action 
progresses in this and the following tales, the clients on both 
levels show signs of increasing drunkenness. The group 
ushered out by Siggerson in the third tale is almost out of 
control, in open revolt; it is full of latent chaos in anticipa- 
tion of the chaos to come. 

The second piece follows after an interlude designed to 
recall the pub-keeper's married state. Materializing from be- 
hind a calendar picture of the "Charge of the Light Brigade," 
the "television" skit reenacted by Butt and Taff is a mani- 
festation of the dramatic impulse in man. The narrators of 
the tale are counterparts of other antagonistic couples ap- 
pearing throughout the Wake: Mutt and Jute, Cain and 
Abel, Jacob and Esau and of course Shem and Shaun: the 
twin sons or two sides of hce: his inner and his outer con- 
sciousness. Here, the two men may be variously seen. In one 
sense they are soldier-veterans (wild geese) reminiscing 
about the Crimean War and the Battle of Sevastopol. The 


tale they tell or rather the tale Butt tells, for he claims to 
have witnessed the event, is of one Buckley, a common 
soldier, v^ho surprised the general in full regalia praying or 
reheving himself in the wood. According to this account, 
Buckley was at first taken aback, then disgusted by the sight. 
Clearly he acted under provocation, but his action is equiva- 
lent to parricide. Butt and Taff may also be seen as penitent 
and priest of the Catholic faith, as two friars or jackpriests, 
as priests of some pagan fertility rite, as the sons of Noah, or 
as two music-hall clowns. In the detailed stage directions 
which precede each of their dialogues, Joyce describes their 
posturing. Actually the tale of Buckley's behavior is told 
mainly through the gestures of Butt; its significance is made 
clear by those of Taff. 

The dramatic situation involves the two clowns more in- 
timately than it does the protagonists of the tale they tell. 
In a social context these two sons of the land are preparing 
to accept the responsibility for overthrowing the leader, mes- 
merizing themselves into action. We are moving from an 
autocratic to a democratic period; the plebes are banding 
together. In the course of the narrative therefore subtle 
changes take place. Butt, who plays the penitent and identi- 
fies with the voyeur-killer, Buckley, begins by describing the 
event. His description becomes a boast and then a confes- 
sion; and Taff, whose sympathies at the start are with the 
victim, gives vent to feelings of outrage. But gradually, as 
the tale advances, Taff finds his sympathy wavering, falls un- 
der the spell of the narrative and joins in the condemnation 
of the General, thus by association implicating himself in 
the murder. At the end of the recital, the two clowns are 
of one mind and are indeed joined in their rather timorous 
hatred of the semimythical hero-figure — the ineffectual 
leader or the aging father. A new age, that of the people and 
the sons, is dawning within the larger context of the chapter. 
Only at such a time would the pub-keeper feel compelled 
to identify openly with the overthrown and discredited Rus- 

Notes for Staging Finnegans Wake 291 

The staging of the dialogue should be relatively simple. 
As though projected upon a television screen, the two men 
play their provocative skit on a small spotlit area located 
somewhere between the mirror group and the primal group 
of chents. Though their appearance is heralded by comments 
from the mirror group only, their exit elicits chorused re- 
marks from both sets of clients. The behavior of Buckley 
and the General is presented entirely through the mime of 
the brother pair. The two clowns should be broadly music 
hall — their dialogue is accompanied by much attitudinizing, 
by an occasional two-step, by blows and falls; while in the 
background we hear medleys of cheap tunes. Joyce had for 
one of his models for the chapter and particularly for this 
dialogue the traditional Dublin Christmas pantomime as he 
remembered it from his own childhood. It must be borne 
in mind, however, that every aspect of Finnegans Wake, 
every scene, action and gesture reverberates through the ages : 
The music-hall mime is for example a debased form of re- 
hgious ritual. Its formulas are timeless. The skit is punc- 
tuated by interludes designed to point up and deepen the 
action: a horse race, the General's last rites, the ''abnihiliza- 
tion of the etym." On the stage these eEects might best be 
produced with the aid of film strips. 

The two remaining episodes are more closely linked to the 
Hero's present, that is to his status as an enfeebled ruler. 
We have left the realms of the folk memory and the heroic 
and autocratic past. The next sequence shows hce judged 
and condemned not by some shadowy storytale figures but 
by his own guests, his former subjects, now his peers. In this 
connection it is interesting to explore the etymology of the 
word ''host" which Joyce applies both to his hero as scape- 
goat-pub-keeper and to his hero's enem)^, Hosty, the author 
of the "Ballad of Persse O'Reilly." 

The action of the third tale is varied: Wliile hce, his posi- 
tion having been exposed by his own testimony, looks on 
in dismay, his judges and jury hear new evidence through 
the medium of a radio broadcast reaffirming the circum- 


stances of his crime. Once again he feels obhged to speak, 
this time in defense of his own character rather than that of 
the Russian. His plea of 'guilty but fellows culpows" leaves 
him at the mercy of the underdogs, who, after Siggerson ex- 
pels them from the pub or locks them in the jury room, 
deliver their verdict amidst overtones of Old Testament law 
and the popular justice of Hosty's ballad. 

The staging of this episode involves a subtle diminution 
in the number of the characters on stage, and equally subtle 
changes in the aspect of the hero. As the story progresses the 
mirror group of clients mixes in with the primary group to 
form one set of twenty-four people (or hours), all accusing 
the hero. But before pub-closing time, their number will have 
dwindled to twelve, so that the group expelled by Siggerson 
suggests a jury. Only two people are left on stage at the end 
of this sequence: hce and Siggerson. Also in the building 
and audible, though not visible, are the four old men of the 
Evangel, whose presence on the premises after closing time 
suggests paradoxically that hce, like Noah, is selected for 
individual salvation. Though there is a considerable amount 
of choral dialogue in the third tale, most of the action is 
mimed with descriptive comments from either the on-stage 
narrator or an anonymous radio announcer. The verdict of 
the clients, for example, is pronounced off-stage and broad- 
cast over the pub radio which also carries the tale of the 
(mock) execution of the victim. With the aid of such me- 
chanical devices the involved behavior of the democratic 
personae can be made clear to a theater audience. 

It is Siggerson who openly introduces and recounts the 
final narrative or fourth tale against the sound of rain her- 
alding the deluge and of distant thunder signaling the 
theophany of the Hero and the advent of a new age. 
Throughout the second half of the chapter hce is aging 
rapidly, taking on aspects first of the Norwegian Captain, 
then of the Russian General or of a Noah betrayed by his 
sons, then of a fallen politician, and finally of King Roderick 

Notes for Staging Finnegans V/ake 293 

O'Conor broken by the disaffection of his vassals. This last 
figure is of an age with Siggerson whom he resembles closely 
though the Viking serving-man must wear clothing reminis- 
cent of the costume worn by the first Norwegian Captain. 
King Roderick's demise takes place on a dramatically empty 
stage, littered with vestiges of the night's feast. Hce's part 
should be completely mimed. Here, amidst the props of his 
past, he is seen dissolving his misery in drink, succumbing at 
last to the night or the spirit. A feeble vestige of male power, 
he is drowning his consciousness. 

The final curtain falls. Hce as mankind has relived his past, 
faced his present and been transported into his future. The 
chapter that opens with the statement: 'It may not or 
maybe a no concern of the Guinesses but," closes with a ref- 
erence to the eternal repetition of types and events, a return 
to beginnings and the night: "As who has come returns . . . 
Now follow we out by Starloe." 






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